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Copifrt^fu.jgO'i.bvM.WaUerliunne^. 



HROM AN OKICINAl. i;RAW'IN(; BY CI ARh VICTOR DWICGIKS. 



The iliiiliess opened Ike library door, lohere she 

had been informed she should find 

Lord Montacitte. 



TANCRED 

OR 

The New Crusade 



BY 

BENJAMIN DISRAEL 

EARL OF BEACONSFIELD 



VOLUME /. 



M. WALTER DUNNE 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 



Copyright, 1904, by 

M. WALTER DUNNE 
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London 



^7-1 C.S^ 






CONTENTS 



TANCRED 

Chapter I. page 

A MATTER OF IMPORTANCE I 

Chapter II. 

THE HOUSE OF BELLAMONT II 

Chapter III. 

A DISCUSSION about MONEY 24 

Chapter IV. 

MONTACUTE CASTLE 29 

Chapter V. 

THE heir COMES OF AGE 35 

Chapter VI. 

A FESTAL DAY 45 

Chapter VII. 

A STRANGE PROPOSAL 56 

Chapter VIII. 

the decision 73 

Chapter IX. 

TANCRED, THE NEW CRUSADER .... 81 

(V) 



vi CONTENTS 

Chapter X. page 

A VISIONARY 89 

Chapter XI. 

ADVICE FROM A MAN OF THE WORLD . . 97 

Chapter XII. 

THE dreamer enters SOCIETY .... I06 

Chapter XIII. 

A FEMININE DIPLOMATIST II5 

Chapter XIV. 

THE CONINGSBYS 1 26 

Chapter XV. 

DISENCHANTMENT 1 37 

Chapter XVI. 

TANCRED RESCUES A LADY IN DISTRESS . 1 45 

Chapter XVII. 

THE WIZARD OF FORTUNE 1 53 

Chapter XVIII. 

AN INTERESTING RENCONTRE 1 64 

Chapter XIX. 

LORD HENRY SYMPATHISES 1 72 

Chapter XX. 

A MODERN TROUBADOUR 181 

Chapter XXI. 

SWEET sympathy I94 

Chapter XXII. 

the CRUSADER RECEIVES A SHOCK . . . 204 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

THE DUCHESS OPENED THE LIBRARY DOOR, WHERE 
SHE HAD BEEN INFORMED SHE SHOULD FIND 
LORD MONTACUTE 72 

TANCRED OPENED THE DOOR OF THE CHARIOT. . . 1 52 



(vii) 



KEY TO THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS 
IN TANCRED 



Tancred, Lord Moniaciit, 
Duke of Bellamont . 
Duchess of Bellamont 

Sidonia 

Lord Es fed ale . . . 
Lord Henry Sydney . 
Mr. Coningsby . . . 
Mr. Vavasour . . . 



Lady Si. fuiians . 
Mr. Guy Flouncey 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey 



The Author 

Duke of Norfolk 

Ducliess of Norfolk 

Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild 

Lord Lonsdale 

Lord John Manners 

Lord Littleton 

Richard Monckton Milnes (Lord 

Houghton ) 
Lady Jersey 
Sir Charles Shackerley 
Mrs. Mountjoy Martin 



(ix) 



TANCRED 



OR 



THE NEW CRUSADE 




CHAPTER I. 

A Matter of Importance. 

THAT part of the celebrated parish 
of St. George which is bounded 
on one side by Piccadilly and on 
the other by Curzon Street, is a 
district of a peculiar character. 'Tis 
cluster of small streets of little 
houses, frequently intersected by mews, which here 
are numerous, and sometimes gradually, rather than 
abruptly, terminating in a ramification of those mys- 
terious regions. Sometimes a group of courts develops 
itself, and you may even chance to find your way 
into a small market-place. Those, however, who are 
accustomed to connect these hidden residences of the 
humble with scenes of misery and characters of vio- 
lence, need not apprehend in this district any appeal 
to their sympathies, or any shock to their tastes. All 

(>) 



2 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

is extremely genteel; and there is almost as much re- 
pose as in the golden saloons of the contiguous palaces. 
At any rate, if there be as much vice, there is as 
little crime. 

No sight or sound can be seen or heard at any 
hour, which could pain the most precise or the most 
fastidious. Even if a chance oath may float on the 
air from the stable-yard to the lodging of a French 
cook, 'tis of the newest fashion, and, if responded to 
with less of novel charm, the repartee is at least con- 
veyed in the language of the most polite of nations. 
They bet upon the Derby in these parts a little, are 
interested in Goodwood, which they frequent, have 
perhaps, in general, a weakness for play, live highly, 
and indulge those passions which luxury and refine- 
ment encourage; but that is all. 

A policeman would as soon think of reconnoitring 
these secluded streets as of walking into a house in 
Park Lane or Berkeley Square, to which, in fact, this 
population in a great measure belongs. For here re- 
side the wives of house-stewards and of butlers, in 
tenements furnished by the honest savings of their 
husbands, and let in lodgings to increase their swell- 
ing incomes; here dwells the retired servant, who 
now devotes his practised energies to the occasional 
festival, which, with his accumulations in the three 
per cents., or in one of the public-houses of the 
quarter, secures him at the same time an easy living, 
and the casual enjoyment of that great world which 
lingers in his memory. Here may be found his grace's 
coachman, and here his lordship's groom, who keeps 
a book and bleeds periodically too speculative foot- 
men, by betting odds on his master's horses. But, 
above all, it is in this district that the cooks have 



TANCRED 3 

ever sought a favourite and elegant abode. An air of 
stillness and serenity, of exhausted passions and sup- 
pressed emotion, rather than of sluggishness and of 
dullness, distinguishes this quarter during the day. 

When you turn from the vitality and brightness of 
Piccadilly, the park, the palace, the terraced mansions, 
the sparkling equipages, the cavaliers cantering up the 
hill, the swarming multitude, and enter the region of 
which we are speaking, the effect is at first almost 
unearthly. Not a carriage, not a horseman, scarcely 
a passenger; there seems some great and sudden col- 
lapse in the metropolitan system, as if a pest had been 
announced, or an enemy were expected in alarm by 
a vanquished capital. The approach from Curzon 
Street has not this effect. Hyde Park has still about 
it something of Arcadia. There are woods and 
waters, and the occasional illusion of an illimitable 
distance of sylvan joyance. The spirit is allured to 
gentle thoughts as we wander in what is still really 
a lane, and, turning down Stanhope Street, behold 
that house which the great Lord Chesterfield tells us, 
in one of his letters, he was 'building among the 
fields.' The cawing of the rooks in his gardens sus- 
tains the tone of mind, and Curzon Street, after a 
long, straggling, sawney course, ceasing to be a thor- 
oughfare, and losing itself in the gardens of another 
palace, is quite in keeping with all the accessories. 

In the night, however, the quarter of which we 
are speaking is alive. The manners of the popula- 
tion follow those of their masters. They keep late 
hours. The banquet and the ball dismiss them to 
their homes at a time when the trades of ordinary 
regions move in their last sleep, and dream of open- 
ing shutters and decking the wmdows of their shops. 



4 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

At night, the chariot whirls round the frequent cor- 
ners of these little streets, and the opening valves of 
the mews vomit forth their legion of broughams. At 
night, too, the footman, taking advantage of a ball at 
Holdernesse, or a concert at Lansdowne House, and 
knowing that, in either instance, the link-boy will 
answer when necessary for his summoned name, ven- 
tures to look in at his club, reads the paper, talks of 
his master or his mistress, and perhaps throws a 
main. The shops of this district, depending almost 
entirely for their custom on the classes we have in- 
dicated, and kept often by their relations, follow the 
order of the place, and are most busy when other 
places of business are closed. 

A gusty March morning had subsided into a sun- 
shiny afternoon, nearly two years ago, when a young 
man, slender, above the middle height, with a physi- 
ognomy thoughtful yet delicate, his brown hair worn 
long, slight whiskers, on his chin a tuft, knocked at 
the door of a house in Carrington Street, May Fair. 
His mien and his costume denoted a character of the 
class of artists. He wore a pair of green trousers, 
braided with a black stripe down their sides, puck- 
ered towards the waist, yet fitting with considerable 
precision to the boot of French leather that enclosed 
a well-formed foot. His waistcoat was of maroon 
velvet, displaying a steel watch-chain of refined manu- 
facture, and a black satin cravat, with a coral 
brooch. His bright blue frockcoat was frogged and 
braided like his trousers. As the knocker fell from 
the primrose-coloured glove that screened his hand, 
he uncovered, and passing his fingers rapidly through 
his hair, resumed his new silk hat, which he placed 
rather on one side of his head. 



TANCRED 5 

'Ah! Mr. Leander, is it you?' exclaimed a pretty 
girl, who opened the door and blushed. 

'And how is the good papa, Eugenie? Is he at 
home? For I want to see him much.' 

' I will show you up to him at once, Mr. Leander, 
for he will be very happy to see you. We have 
been thinking of hearing of you,' she added, talking 
as she ushered her guest up the narrow staircase. 
'The good papa has a little cold: 'tis not much, I 
hope; caught at Sir Wallinger's, a large dinner; they 
would have the kitchen windows open, which spoilt 
all the entrees, and papa got a cold; but I think, per- 
haps, it is as much vexation as anything else, you 
know if anything goes wrong, especially with the 
entrees ' 

'He feels as a great artist must,' said Leander, 
finishing her sentence. 'However, I am not sorry at 
this moment to find him a prisoner, for I am pressed 
to see him. It is only this morning that I have re- 
turned from Mr. Coningsby's at Hellingsley: the house 
full, forty covers every day, and some judges. One 
does not grudge one's labour if we are appreciated,' 
added Leander; 'but I have had my troubles. One 
of my marmitons has disappointed me: I thought I 
had a genius, but on the third day he lost his head; 
and had it not been Ah! good papa,' he ex- 
claimed, as the door opened, and he came forward 
and warmly shook the hand of a portly man, ad- 
vanced in middle life, sitting in an easy chair, with a 
glass of sugared water by his side, and reading a 
French newspaper in his chamber robe, and with 
a white cotton nightcap on his head. 

'Ah! my child,' said Papa Prevost, 'is it you? 
You see me a prisoner; Eugenie has told you; a din- 



6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ner at a merchant's; dressed in a draught; everything 

spoiled, and I ' and sighing, Papa Prevost sipped 

his eau sucree. 

'We have all our troubles,' said Leander, in a con- 
soling tone; 'but we will not speak now of vexa- 
tions. I have just come from the country; Daubuz 
has written to me twice; he was at my house last 
night; I found him on my steps this morning. There 
is a grand affair on the tapis. The son of the Duke 
of Bellamont comes of age at Easter; it is to be a 
business of the thousand and one nights; the whole 
county to be feasted. Camacho's wedding will do for 
the peasantry; roasted oxen, and a capon in every 
platter, with some fountains of ale and good Porto. 
Our marmitons, too, can easily serve the provincial 
noblesse; but there is to be a party at the Castle, of 
double cream; princes of the blood, high relatives and 
grandees of the Golden Fleece. The duke's cook is 
not equal to the occasion. 'Tis an hereditary chef 
who gives dinners of the time of the continental 
blockade. They have written to Daubuz to send them 
the first artist of the age,' said Leander; 'and,' added 
he, with some hesitation, ' Daubuz has written to 
me,' 

'And he did quite right, my child,' said Prevost, 
'for there is not a man in Europe that is your equal. 
What do they say .? That Abreu rivals you in flavour, 
and that Gaillard has not less invention. But who can 
combine ^o/?/ with new combinations? 'Tis yourself, 
Leander; and there is no question, though you have 
only twenty-five years, that you are the chef of the 
age.' 

'You are always very good to me, sir,' said Le- 
ander, bending his head with great respect; 'and 1 



TANCRED 7 

will not deny that to be famous when you are young 
is the fortune of the gods. But we must never for- 
get that I had an advantage which Abreu and Gaillard 
had not, and that 1 was your pupil.' 

'I hope that I have not injured you,' said Papa 
Prevost, with an air of proud self-content. 'What 
you learned from me came at least from a good school. 
It is something to have served under Napoleon,' added 
Prevost, with the grand air of the Imperial kitchen. 
'Had it not been for Waterloo, I should have had the 
cross. But the Bourbons and the cooks of the Empire 
never could understand each other. They brought 
over an emigrant chef, who did not comprehend the 
taste of the age. He wished to bring everything back 
to the time of the oeil de bcruf. When Monsieur 
passed my soup of Austerlitz untasted, I knew the old 
family was doomed. But we gossip. You wished to 
consult me.?' 

'I want not only your advice but your assistance. 
This affair of the Duke of Bellamont requires all our 
energies. I hope you will accompany me; and, in- 
deed, we must muster all our forces. It is not to be 
denied that there is a want, not only of genius, but 
of men, in our art. The cooks are like the civil engi- 
neers: since the middle class have taken to giving 
dinners, the demand exceeds the supply.' 

'There is Andrien,' said Papa Prevost; 'you had 
some hopes of him.?' 

'He is too young; I took him to Hellingsley, and 
he lost his head on the third day. I entrusted the 
soufflees to him, and, but for the most desperate per- 
sonal exertions, all would have been lost. It was an 
affair of the bridge of Areola.' 

'Ah! mon Dieit ! those are moments!' exclaimed 

15 B. D.— 14 



8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Prevost. 'Gaillard and Abreu will not serve under 
you, eh? And if they would, they could not be 
trusted. They would betray you at the tenth hour.' 

* What I want are generals of division, not com- 
manders-in-chief. Abreu is suificiently bon gargon, 
but he has taken an engagement with Monsieur de 
Sidonia, and is not permitted to go out.' 

'With Monsieur de Sidonia! You once thought of 
that, my Leander. And what is his salary.?' 

'Not too much; four hundred and some perqui- 
sites. It would not suit me; besides, I will take no 
engagement but with a crowned head. But Abreu 
likes travelling, and he has his own carriage, which 
pleases him.' 

'There are Philippon and Dumoreau,' said Prevost; 
'they are very safe.' 

'I was thinking of them,' said Leander, 'they are 
safe, under you. And there is an Englishman, Smit, 
he is chef at Sir Stanley's, but his master is away at 
this moment. He has talent.' 

'Yourself, four chefs, with your marmitons; it 
would do,' said Prevost. 

'For the kitchen,' said Leander; 'but who is to 
dress the tables?' 

'A — hi' exclaimed Papa Prevost, shaking his head. 

'Daubuz' head man, Trenton, is the only one I 
could trust; and he wants fancy, though his style is 
broad and bold. He made a pyramid of pines re- 
lieved with grapes, without destroying the outline, 
very good, this last week, at Hellingsley. But Tren- 
ton has been upset on the railroad, and much injured. 
Even if he recover, his hand will tremble so for the 
next month that I could have no confidence in him.' 

'Perhaps you might find some one at the Duke's?' 



TANCRED 9 

'Out of the question!' said Leander; M make it 
always a condition that the head of every department 
shall be appointed by myself. I take Pellerini with 
me for the confectionery. How often have I seen the 
effect of a first-rate dinner spoiled by a vulgar dessert! 
laid flat on the table, for example, or with ornaments 
that look as if they had been hired at a pastrycook's: 
triumphal arches, and Chinese pagodas, and solitary 
pines springing up out of ice-tubs surrounded with 
peaches, as if they were in the window of a fruiterer 
of Covent Garden.' 

*Ah! it is incredible what uneducated people will 
do,' said Prevost. 'The dressing of the tables was a 
department of itself in the Imperial kitchen.' 

'It demands an artist of a high calibre,' said Le- 
ander. ' I know only one man who realises my idea, 
and he is at St. Petersburg. You do not know 
Anastase ? There is a man! But the Emperor has 
him secure. He can scarcely complain, however, since 
he is decorated, and has the rank of full colonel.' 

'Ah!' said Prevost, mournfully, 'there is no rec- 
ognition of genius in this country. What think you 
of Vanesse, my child ? He has had a regular educa- 
tion.' 

'In a bad school: as a pis aller one might put up 
with him. But his eternal tiers of bonbons! As if 
they were ranged for a supper of the Carnival, and 
my guests were going to pelt each other! No, I 
could not stand Vanesse, papa.' 

'The dressing of the table: 'tis a rare talent,' said 
Prevost, mournfully, 'and always was. In the Irn- 
perial kitchen ' 

'Papa,' said Eugenie, opening the door, and put- 
ting in her head, 'here is Monsieur Vanillette just 



lo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

come from Brussels. He has brought you a basket 
of truffles from Ardennes. I told him you were on 
business, but to-night, if you be at home, he could 
come.' 

' Vanillette!' exclaimed Prevost, starting in his 
chair, 'our little Vanillette! There is your man, Le- 
ander. He was my first pupil, as you were my last, 
my child. Bring up our little Vanillette, Eugenie. 
He is in the household of King Leopold, and his forte 
is dressing the table!' 




CHAPTER II. 




The House of Bellamont. 

HE Duke of Bellamont was a per- 
sonage who, from his rank, his 
blood, and his wealth, might almost 
be placed at the head of the En- 
glish nobility. Although the grand- 
son of a mere country gentleman, his 
fortunate ancestor, in the decline of the last century, 
had captivated the heiress of the Montacutes, Dukes 
of Bellamont, a celebrated race of the times of the 
Plantagenets. The bridegroom, at the moment of his 
marriage, had adopted the illustrious name of his 
young and beautiful wife. Mr. Montacute was by 
nature a man of energy and of an enterprising spirit. 
His vast and early success rapidly developed his na- 
tive powers. With the castles and domains and 
boroughs of the Bellamonts, he resolved also to ac- 
quire their ancient baronies and their modern coronets. 
The times were favourable to his projects, though 
they might require the devotion of a life. He married 
amid the disasters of the American war. The king 
and his minister appreciated the independent support 
afforded them by Mr. Montacute, who represented his 
county, and who commanded five votes in the House 



12 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

besides his own. He was one of the chief pillars of 
their cause; but he was not only independent, he was 
conscientious and had scruples. Saratoga staggered 
him. The defection of the Montacute votes, at this 
moment, would have at once terminated the struggle 
between England and her colonies. A fresh illustra- 
tion of the advantages of our parliamentary consti- 
tution! The independent Mr. Montacute, however, 
stood by his sovereign; his five votes continued to 
cheer the noble lord in the blue ribbon, and their 
master took his seat and the oaths in the House of 
Lords, as Earl of Bellamont and Viscount Montacute. 
This might be considered sufficiently well for one 
generation; but the silver spoon which some fairy had 
placed in the cradle of the Earl of Bellamont was of 
colossal proportions. The French Revolution suc- 
ceeded the American war, and was occasioned by it. 
It was but just, therefore, that it also should bring 
its huge quota to the elevation of the man whom a 
colonial revolt had made an earl. Amid the panic of 
Jacobinism, the declamations of the friends of the 
people, the sovereign having no longer Hanover for a 
refuge, and the prime minister examined as a witness 
in favour of the very persons whom he was trying for 
high treason, the Earl of Bellamont made a calm visit 
to Downing Street, and requested the revival of all 
the honours of the ancient Earls and Dukes of Bella- 
mont in his own person. Mr. Pitt, who was far 
from favourable to the exclusive character which dis- 
tinguished the English peerage in the last century, 
was himself not disinclined to accede to the gentle 
request of his powerful supporter; but the king was 
less flexible. His Majesty, indeed, was on principle 
not opposed to the revival of titles in families to 



TANCRED 13 

whom the domains without the honours of the old 
nobility had descended; and he recognised the claim 
of the present Earls of Bellamont eventually to regain 
the strawberry leaf which had adorned the coronet of 
the father of the present countess. But the king was 
of opinion that this supreme distinction ought only to 
be conferred on the blood of the old house, and that 
a generation, therefore, must necessarily elapse before 
a Duke of Bellamont could again figure in the golden 
book of the English aristocracy. 

But George the Third, with all his firmness, was 
doomed to frequent discomfiture. His lot was cast in 
troubled waters, and he had often to deal with 
individuals as inflexible as himself. Benjamin Franklin 
was not more calmly contumacious than the individual 
whom his treason had made an English peer. In 
that age of violence, change and panic, power, directed 
by a clear brain and an obdurate spirit, could not fail 
of its aim; and so it turned out, that, in the very 
teeth of the royal will, the simple country gentleman, 
whose very name was forgotten, became, at the com- 
mencement of this century, Duke of Bellamont, Mar- 
quis of Montacute, Earl of Bellamont, Dacre, and 
Villeroy, with all the baronies of the Plantagenets in 
addition. The only revenge of the king was, that he 
never would give the Duke of Bellamont the garter. 
It was as well perhaps that there should be some- 
thing for his son to desire. 

The Duke and Duchess of Bellamont were the 
handsomest couple in England, and devoted to each 
other, but they had only one child. Fortunately, that 
child was a son. Precious life! The Marquis of 
Montacute was married before he was of age. Not 
a moment was to be lost to find heirs for all these 



14 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

honours. Perhaps, had his parents been less precipi- 
tate, their object might have been more securely ob- 
tained. The union was not a happy one. The first 
duke had, however, the gratification of dying a grand- 
father. His successor bore no resemblance to him, 
except in that beauty which became a characteristic 
of the race. He was born to enjoy, not to create. 
A man of pleasure, the chosen companion of the Re- 
gent in his age of riot, he was cut off in his prime; 
but he lived long enough to break his wife's heart 
and his son's spirit; like himself, too, an only child. 

The present Duke of Bellamont had inherited some- 
thing of the clear intelligence of his grandsire, with 
the gentle disposition of his mother. His fair abili- 
ties, and his benevolent inclinations, had been culti- 
vated. His mother had watched over the child, in 
whom she found alike the charm and consolation of 
her life. But, at a certain period of youth, the for- 
mation of character requires a masculine impulse, and 
that was wanting. The duke disliked his son; in 
time he became even jealous of him. The duke had 
found himself a father at too early a period of life. 
Himself in his lusty youth, he started with alarm at 
the form that recalled his earliest and most brilliant 
hour, and who might prove a rival. The son was of 
a gentle and affectionate nature, and sighed for the 
tenderness of his harsh and almost vindictive parent. 
But he had not that passionate soul which might 
have appealed, and perhaps not in vain, to the dor- 
mant sympathies of the being who had created him. 
The young Montacute was by nature of an extreme 
shyness, and the accidents of his life had not tended 
to dissipate his painful want of self-confidence. Phys- 
ically courageous, his moral timidity was remark- 



TANCRED 15 

able. He alternately blushed or grew pale in his rare 
interviews with his father, trembled in silence before 
the undeserved sarcasm, and often endured the unjust 
accusation without an attempt to vindicate himself. 
Alone, and in tears alike of woe and indignation, he 
cursed the want of resolution or ability which had 
again missed the opportunity that, both for his mother 
and himself, might have placed affairs in a happier 
position. Most persons, under these circumstances, 
would have become bitter, but Montacute was too 
tender for malice, and so he only turned melancholy. 
On the threshold of manhood, Montacute lost his 
mother, and this seemed the catastrophe of his un- 
happy life. His father neither shared his grief, nor 
attempted to alleviate it. On the contrary, he seemed 
to redouble his efforts to mortify his son. His great 
object was to prevent Lord Montacute from entering 
society, and he was so complete a master of the 
nervous temperament on which he was acting that 
there appeared a fair chance of his succeeding in his 
benevolent intentions. When his son's education was 
completed, the duke would not furnish him with the 
means of moving in the world in a becoming man- 
ner, or even sanction his travelling. His Grace was 
resolved to break his son's spirit by keeping him im- 
mured in the country. Other heirs apparent of a rich 
seignory would soon have removed these difficulties. 
By bill or by bond, by living usury, or by post-obit 
liquidation, by all the means that private friends or 
public offices could supply, the sinews of war would 
have been forthcoming. They would have beaten 
their fathers' horses at Newmarket, eclipsed them 
with their mistresses, and, sitting for their boroughs, 
voted against their party. But Montacute was not 



1 6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

one of those young heroes who rendered so distin- 
guished the earlier part of this century. He had passed 
his life so much among women and clergymen that 
he had never emancipated himself from the old law 
that enjoined him to honour a parent. Besides, with 
all his shyness and timidity, he was extremely proud. 
He never forgot that he was a Montacute, though he 
had forgotten, like the world in general, that his 
grandfather once bore a different and humbler name. 
All merged in the great fact, that he was the living 
representative of those Montacutes of Bellamont, whose 
wild and politic achievements, or the sustained splen- 
dour of whose stately life had for seven hundred 
years formed a stirring and superb portion of the his- 
tory and manners of our country. Death was prefer- 
able, in his view, to having such a name soiled in 
the haunts of jockeys and courtesans and usurers; 
and, keen as was the anguish which the conduct of 
the duke to his mother or himself had often occa- 
sioned him, it was sometimes equalled in degree by 
the sorrow and the shame which he endured when 
he heard of the name of Bellamont only in connection 
with some stratagem of the turf or some frantic revel. 
Without a friend, almost without an acquaintance, 
Montacute sought refuge in love. She who shed over 
his mournful life the divine ray of feminine sympathy 
was his cousin, the daughter of his mother's brother, 
an English peer, but resident in the north of Ireland, 
where he had vast possessions. It was a family oth- 
erwise little calculated to dissipate the reserve and 
gloom of a depressed and melancholy youth; puritan- 
ical, severe and formal in their manners, their relaxa- 
tions a Bible Society, or a meeting for the conversion 
of the Jews. But Lady Katherine was beautiful, and 



TANCRED 17 

all were kind to one to whom kindness was strange, 
and the soft pathos of whose solitary spirit demanded 
affection. 

Montacute requested his father's permission to 
marry his cousin, and was immediately refused. The 
duke particularly disliked his wife's family; but the 
fact is, he had no wish that his son should ever 
marry. He meant to perpetuate his race himself, and 
was at this moment, in the midst of his orgies, med- 
itating a second alliance, which should compensate 
him for his boyish blunder. In this state of affairs, 
Montacute, at length stung to resistance, inspired by 
the most powerful of passions, and acted upon by a 
stronger volition than his own, was planning a mar- 
riage in spite of his father (love, a cottage by an 
Irish lake, and seven hundred a-year) when intelli- 
gence arrived that his father, whose powerful frame 
and vigorous health seemed to menace a patriarchal 
term, was dead. 

The new Duke of Bellamont had no experience of 
the world; but, though long cowed by his father, he 
had a strong character. Though the circle of his ideas 
was necessarily contracted, they were all clear and 
firm. In his moody youth he had imbibed certain 
impressions and arrived at certain conclusions, and 
they never quitted him. His mother was his model 
of feminine perfection, and he had loved his cousin 
because she bore a remarkable resemblance to her 
aunt. Again, he was of opinion that the tie between 
the father and the son ought to be one of intimate 
confidence and refined tenderness, and he resolved 
that, if Providence favoured him with offspring, his 
child should ever find in him absolute devotion of 
thought and feeling. 



i8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

A variety of causes and circumstances had im- 
pressed him with a conviction that what is called 
fashionable life was a compound of frivolity and fraud, 
of folly and vice; and he resolved never to enter it. 
To this he was, perhaps, in some degree uncon- 
sciously prompted by his reserved disposition, and by 
his painful sense of inexperience, for he looked for- 
ward to this world with almost as much of appre- 
hension as of dislike. To politics, in the vulgar 
sense of the word, he had an equal repugnance. He 
had a lofty idea of his duty to his sovereign and his 
country, and felt within him the energies that would 
respond to a conjuncture. But he acceded to his 
title in a period of calmness, when nothing was 
called in question, and no danger was apprehended; 
and as for the fights of factions, the duke altogether 
held himself aloof from them; he wanted nothing, not 
even the blue ribbon which he was soon obliged to 
take. Next to his domestic hearth, all his being was 
concentrated in his duties as a great proprietor of the 
soil. On these he had long pondered, and these he 
attempted to fulfil. That performance, indeed, was 
as much a source of delight to him as of obligation. 
He loved the country and a country life. His reserve 
seemed to melt away the moment he was on his own 
soil. Courteous he ever was, but then he became 
gracious and hearty. He liked to assemble * the 
county' around him; to keep 'the county' together; 
'the county' seemed always his first thought; he 
was proud of 'the county,' where he reigned su- 
preme, not more from his vast possessions than from 
the influence of his sweet yet stately character, which 
made those devoted to him who otherwise were in- 
dependent of his sway. 



TANCRED 19 

From straitened circumstances, and without hav- 
ing had a single fancy of youth gratified, the Duke of 
Bellamont had been suddenly summoned to the lord- 
ship of an estate scarcely inferior in size and revenue 
to some continental principalities; to dwell in pal- 
aces and castles, to be surrounded by a disciplined 
retinue, and to find every wish and want gratified 
before they could be expressed or anticipated. Yet 
he showed no elation, and acceded to his inheritance 
as serene as if he had never felt a pang or proved a 
necessity. She whom in the hour of trial he had 
selected for the future partner of his life, though a 
remarkable woman, by a singular coincidence of feel- 
ing, for it was as much from her original character as 
from sympathy with her husband, confirmed him in 
all his moods. 

Katherine, Duchess of Bellamont, was beautiful: 
small and delicate in structure, with a dazzling com- 
plexion, and a smile which, though rare, was of the 
most winning and brilliant character. Her rich brown 
hair and her deep blue eye might have become a 
dryad; but her brow denoted intellect of a high or- 
der, and her mouth spoke inexorable resolution. She 
was a woman of fixed opinions, and of firm and 
compact prejudices. Brought up in an austere circle, 
where on all matters irrevocable judgment had been 
passed, which enjoyed the advantages of knowing 
exactly what was true in dogma, what just in 
conduct, and what correct in manners, she had early 
acquired the convenient habit of decision, while her 
studious mind employed its considerable energies in 
mastering every writer who favoured those opinions 
which she had previously determined were the right 
ones. 



20 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The duchess was deep in the divinity of the 
seventeenth century. In the controversies betv/een 
the two churches, she could have perplexed St. 
Omers or Maynooth. ChilUngworth might be found 
her boudoir. Not that her Grace's reading was con- 
fined to divinity; on the contrary, it was various and 
extensive. Puritan in religion, she was precisian in 
morals; but in both she was sincere. She was so in 
all things. Her nature was frank and simple; if she 
were inflexible, she at least wished to be just; and 
though very conscious of the greatness of her posi- 
tion, she was so sensible of its duties that there was 
scarcely any exertion which she would evade, or 
any humility from which she would shrink, if she 
believed she were doing her duty to her God or to 
her neighbour. 

It will be seen, therefore, that the Duke of Bella- 
mont found no obstacle in his wife, who otherwise 
much influenced his conduct, to the plans which he 
had pre-conceived for the conduct of his life after 
marriage. The duchess shrank, with a feeling of 
haughty terror from that world of fashion which 
would have so willingly greeted her. During the 
greater part of the year, therefore, the Bellamonts re- 
sided in their magnificent castle, in their distant 
county, occupied with all the business and the pleasures 
of the provinces. While the duke, at the head of the 
magistracy, in the management of his estates, and in 
the sports of which he was fond, found ample occu- 
pation, his wife gave an impulse to the charity of 
the county, founded schools, endowed churches, re- 
ceived their neighbours, read her books, and amused 
herself in the creation of beautiful gardens, for which 
she had a passion. 



TANCRED 21 

After Easter, Parliament requiring their presence, 
the courtyard of one of the few palaces in London 
opened, and the world learnt that the Duke and 
Duchess of Bellamont had arrived at Bellamont House, 
from Montacute Castle. During their stay in town, 
which they made as brief as they well could, and 
which never exceeded three months, they gave a 
series of great dinners, principally attended by noble 
relations and those families of the county who were 
so fortunate as to have also a residence in London. 
Regularly every year, also, there was a grand ban- 
quet given to some members of the royal family by 
the Duke and Duchess of Bellamont, and regularly 
every year the Duke and Duchess of Bellamont had 
the honour of dining at the palace. Except at a ball 
or concert under the royal roof, the duke and duchess 
were never seen anywhere in the evening. The great 
ladies indeed, the Lady St. Julians and the Mar- 
chionesses of Deloraine, always sent them invitations, 
though they were ever declined. But the Bellamonts 
maintained a sort of traditional acquaintance with a 
few great houses, either by the ties of relationship, 
which, among the aristocracy, are very ramified, or 
by occasionally receiving travelling magnificoes at 
their hospitable castle. 

To the great body, however, of what is called 
'the world,' the world that lives in St. James' Street 
and Pall Mall, that looks out of a club window, and 
surveys mankind as Lucretius from his philosophic 
tower; the world of the Georges and the Jemmys; of 
Mr. Cassilis and Mr. Melton; of the Milfords and the 
Fitz-Herons, the Berners and the Egertons, the Mr. 
Ormsbys and the Alfred Mountchesneys, the Duke 
and Duchess of Bellamont were absolutely unknown. 



22 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

All that the world knew was, that there was a great 
peer who was called Duke of Bellamont; that there 
was a great house in London, with a courtyard, 
which bore his name; that he had a castle in the 
country, which was one of the boasts of England; 
and that this great duke had a duchess; but they 
never met them anywhere, nor did their wives and 
their sisters, and the ladies whom they admired, or 
who admired them, either at ball or at breakfast, 
either at morning dances or at evening dejeuners. It 
was clear, therefore, that the Bellamonts might be 
very great people, but they were not in 'society.' 

It must have been some organic law, or some fate 
which uses structure for its fulfilment, but again it 
seemed that the continuance of the great house of 
Montacute should depend upon the life of a single 
being. The duke, like his father and his grandfather, 
was favoured only with one child, but that child was 
again a son. From the moment of his birth, the very 
existence of his parents seemed identified with his 
welfare. The duke and his wife mutually assumed to 
each other a secondary position, in comparison with 
that occupied by their offspring. From the hour of 
his birth to the moment when this history opens, 
and when he was about to complete his majority, 
never had such solicitude been lavished on human 
being as had been continuously devoted to the life of 
the young Lord Montacute. During his earlier educa- 
tion he scarcely quitted home. He had, indeed, once 
been shown to Eton, surrounded by faithful domestics, 
and accompanied by a private tutor, whose vigilance 
would not have disgraced a superintendent of police; 
but the scarlet fever happened to break out during 
his first half, and Lord Montacute was instantly 



TANCRED 



23 



snatched away from the scene of danger, where he 
was never again to appear. At eighteen he went to 
Christ-church. His mother, who had nursed him her- 
self, wrote to him every day; but this was not found 
sufficient, and the duke hired a residence in the 
neighourhood of the university, in order that they 
might occasionally see their son during term. 





CHAPTER III. 
A Discussion about Money. 

AW Eskdale just now,' said Mr. Cas- 
silis, at White's, 'going down to 
the Duke of Bellamont's. Great 
doings there: son comes of age 
at Easter. Wonder what sort of 
fellow he is ? Anybody know any- 
thing about him.?' 

*I wonder what his father's rent-roll is?' said Mr. 
Ormsby. 

'They say it is quite clear,' said Lord Fitz-Heron. 
'Safe for that,' said Lord Milford; 'and plenty of 
ready money, too, I should think, for one never heard 
of the present duke doing anything.' 

'He does a good deal in his county,' said Lord 
Valentine. 

'I don't call that anything,' said Lord Milford; 
'but I mean to say he never played, was never seen 
at Newmarket, or did anything which anybody can 
remember. In fact, he is a person whose name you 
never by any chance hear mentioned.' 

'He is a sort of cousin of mine,' said Lord Valen- 
tine; 'and we are all going down to the coming of 
age: that is, we are asked.' 
(24) 



TANCRED 25 

'Then you can tell us what sort of fellow the 
son is.' 

'I never saw him,' said Lord Valentine; 'but I 
know the duchess told my mother last year, that 
Montacute, throughout his life, had never occasioned 
her a single moment's pain.' 

Here there was a general laugh. 

'Well, I have no doubt he will make up for lost 
time,' said Mr. Ormsby, demurely. 

'Nothing like mamma's darling for upsetting a 
coach,' said Lord Milford. 'You ought to bring your 
cousin here, Valentine; we would assist the develop- 
ment of his unsophisticated intelligence.' 

'If I go down, I will propose it to him.' 

'Why if.?' said Mr. Cassilis; 'sort of thing I should 
like to see once uncommonly: oxen roasted alive, old 
armour, and the girls of the village all running about 
as if they were behind the scenes.' 

'Is that the way you did it at your majority, 
George?' said Lord Fitz-Heron. 

'Egad! I kept my arrival at years of discretion 
at Brighton. I believe it was the last fun there 
ever was at the Pavilion. The poor dear king, God 
bless him! proposed my health, and made the devil's 
own speech; we all began to pipe. He was Regent 
then. Your father was there, Valentine; ask him 
if he remembers it. That was a scene! I won't 
say how it ended; but the best joke is, I got a 
letter from my governor a few days after, with an 
account of what they had all been doing at Brand- 
ingham, and rowing me for not coming down, and 
I found out 1 had kept my coming of age the wrong 
day.' 

'Did you tell them ?' 



i6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Not a word: I was afraid we might have had to 
go through it over again.' 

'I suppose old Bellamont is the devil's own screw,' 
said Lord Milford. ' Rich governors, who have never 
been hard up, always are.' 

'No: I beHeve he is a very good sort of fellow,' 
said Lord Valentine; 'at least my people always say 
so. I do not know much about him, for they never 
go anywhere.' 

'They have got Leander down at Montacute,' said 
Mr. Cassilis. 'Had not such a thing as a cook in 
the whole county. They say Lord Eskdale arranged 
the cuisine for them; so you will feed well, Valen- 
tine.' 

'That is something: and one can eat before 
Easter; but when the balls begin ' 

'Oh! as for that, you will have dancing enough 
at Montacute; it is expected on these occasions: Sir 
Roger de Coverley, tenants' daughters, and all that 
sort of thing. Deuced funny, but I must say, if I am 
to have a lark, I like Vauxhall.' 

'I never met the Bellamonts,' said Lord Milford, 
musingly. 'Are there any daughters?' 

'None.' 

'That is a bore A single daughter, even if there 
be a son, may be made something of; because, in 
nine cases out of ten, there is a round sum in the 
settlements for the younger children, and she takes 
it all.' 

'That is the case of Lady Blanche Bickerstaffe,' 
said Lord Fitz-Heron. ' She will have a hundred thou- 
sand pounds.' 

'You don't mean that!' said Lord Valentine; 'and 
she is a very nice girl, too.' 



TANCRED 27 

'You are quite wrong about the hundred thou- 
sand, Fitz,' said Lord Milford; 'for I made it my 
business to inquire most particuhirly into the affair: 
it is only fifty.' 

' In these cases, the best rule is only to believe 
half,' said Mr. Ormsby. 

' Then you have only got twenty thousand a-year, 
Ormsby,' said Lord Milford, laughing, 'because the 
world gives you forty.' 

' Well, we must do the best we can in these hard 
times,' said Mr. Ormsby, with an air of mock resig- 
nation. 'With your Dukes of Bellamont and all these 
grandees on the stage, we httle men shall be scarcely 
able to hold up our heads.' 

'Come, Ormsby,' said Lord Milford; 'tell us the 
amount of your income tax.' 

'They say Sir Robert quite blushed when he saw 
the figure at which you were sacked, and declared it 
was downright spoliation.' 

'You young men are always talking about money,' 
said Mr. Ormsby, shaking his head; 'you should 
think of higher things.' 

'I wonder what young Montacute will be thinking 
of this time next year,' said Lord Fitz-Heron. 

'There will be plenty of people thinking of him,' 
said Mr. Cassilis. 'Egad! you gentlemen must stir 
yourselves, if you mean to be turned off. You will 
have rivals.' 

'He will be no rival to me,' said Lord Milford; 
'for I am an avowed fortune-hunter, and that you say 
he does not care for, at least, at present.' 

'And I marry only for love,' said Lord Valentine, 
laughing; 'and so we shall not clash.' 

'Ay, ay; but if he will not go to the heiresses, 



28 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the heiresses will go to him,' said Mr. Ormsby. 'I 
have seen a good deal of these things, and I gener- 
ally observe the eldest son of a duke takes a fortune 
out of the market. Why, there is Beaumanoir, he is 
like Valentine; I suppose he intends to marry for 
love, as he is always in that way; but the heiresses 
never leave him alone, and in the long run you can- 
not withstand it; it is like a bribe; a man is indig- 
nant at the bare thought, refuses the first offer, and 
pockets the second.' 

'It is very immoral, and very unfair,' said Lord 
Milford, 'that any man should marry for tin who 
does not want it.' 





CHAPTER IV. 

MoNTACUTE Castle. 

HE forest of Montacute, in the north 
of England, is the name given to 
an extensive district, which in many 
parts offers no evidence of the 
propriety of its title. The land, 
especially during the last century, 
has been effectively cleared, and presents, in general, 
a champaign view; rich and rural, but far from pic- 
turesque. Over a wide expanse, the eye ranges on 
cornfields and rich hedgerows, many a sparkling spire, 
and many a merry windmill. In the extreme distance, 
on a clear day, may be discerned the blue hills of the 
Border, and towards the north the cultivated country 
ceases, and the dark form of the old forest spreads 
into the landscape. The traveller, however, who may 
be tempted to penetrate these sylvan recesses, will 
find much that is beautiful, and little that is savage. 
He will be struck by the capital road that winds 
among the groves of ancient oak, and the turfy and 
ferny wilderness which extends on each side, whence 
the deer gaze on him with haughty composure, as if 
conscious that he was an intruder into their kingdom 
of whom they need have no fear. As he advances, 

(29) 



30 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

he observes the number of cross routes which branch 
off from the main road, and which, though of less 
dimensions, are equally remarkable for their masterly 
structure and compact condition. 

Sometimes the land is cleared, and he finds him- 
self by the homestead of a forest farm, and remarks 
the buildings, distinguished not only by their neat- 
ness, but the propriety of their rustic architecture. 
Still advancing, the deer become rarer, and the road 
is formed by an avenue of chestnuts; the forest, on 
each side, being now transformed into vegetable gar- 
dens. The stir of the population is soon evident. 
Persons are moving to and fro on the side path of 
the road. Horsemen and carts seem returning from 
market; women with empty baskets, and then the 
rare vision of a stage-coach. The postilion spurs his 
horses, cracks his whip, and dashes at full gallop into 
the town of Montacute, the capital of the forest. 

It is the prettiest little town in the world, built 
entirely of hewn stone, the well-paved and well- 
lighted streets as neat as a Dutch village. There are 
two churches; one of great antiquity, the other raised 
by the present duke, but in the best style of Christian 
architecture. The bridge that spans the little but 
rapid river Belle, is perhaps a trifle too vast and Ro- 
man for Its site; but it was built by the first duke of 
the second dynasty, who was always afraid of under- 
building his position. The town was also indebted 
to him for their hall, a Palladian palace. Montacute 
is a corporate town, and, under the old system, re- 
turned two members to Parliament. The amount of 
its population, according to the rule generally ob- 
served, might have preserved it from disfranchisement, 
but, as every house belonged to the duke, and as he 



TANCRED 31 

was what, in the confused phraseology of the revolu- 
tionary war, was called a Tory, the Whigs took care 
to put Montacute in Schedule A. 

The town-hall, the market-place, a literary institu- 
tion, and the new church, form, with some good 
houses of recent erection, a handsome square, in 
which there is a fountain, a gift to the town from the 
present duchess. 

At the extremity of the town, the ground rises, 
and on a woody steep, which is in fact the termina- 
tion of a long range of tableland, may be seen the 
towers of the outer court of Montacute Castle. The 
principal building, which is vast and of various ages, 
from the Plantagenets to the Guelphs, rises on a ter- 
race, from which, on the side opposite to the town, 
you descend into a well-timbered inclosure, called the 
Home Park. Further on, the forest again appears; 
the deer again crouch in their fern, or glance along 
the vistas; nor does this green domain terminate till it 
touches the vast and purple moors that divide the 
kingdoms of Great Britain. 

It was on an early day of April that the duke was 
sitting in his private room, a pen in one hand, and 
looking up with a face of pleasurable emotion at his 
wife, who stood by his side, her right arm sometimes 
on the back of his chair, and sometimes on his 
shoulder, while with her other hand, between the 
intervals of speech, she pressed a handkerchief to her 
eyes, bedewed with the expression of an affectionate 
excitement. 

' It is too much,' said her Grace. 

•And done in such a handsome manner!' said the 
duke. 

' I would not tell our dear child of it at this mo- 



32 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ment,' said the duchess; 'he has so much to go 
through! ' 

' You are right, Kate. It will keep till the cele- 
bration is over. How delighted he will be!' 

' My dear George, I sometimes think we are too 
happy.' 

'You are not half as happy as you deserve to be,' 
replied her husband, looking up with a smile of af- 
fection; and then he finished his reply to the letter of 
Mr. Hungerford, one of the county members, inform- 
ing the duke, that now Lord Montacute was of age, 
he intended at once to withdraw from Parliament, 
having for a long time fixed on the majority of the 
heir of the house of Bellamont as the signal for that 
event. 'I accepted the post,' said Mr. Hungerford, 
' much against my will. Your Grace behaved to me 
at the time in the handsomest manner, and, indeed, 
ever since, with respect to this subject. But a Mar- 
quis of Montacute is, in my opinion, and, I believe I 
may add, in that of the whole county, our proper 
representative; besides, we want young blood in the 
House.' 

'It certainly is done in the handsomest manner,' 
said the duke. 

' But then you know, George, you behaved to him 
in the handsomest manner; he says so, as you do in- 
deed to everybody; and this is your reward.' 

'I should be very sorry, indeed, if Hungerford did 
not withdraw with perfect satisfaction to himself, and 
his family too,' urged the duke; 'they are most re- 
spectable people, one of the most respectable families 
in the county; 1 should be quite grieved if this step 
were taken without their entire and hearty concur- 
rence.' 



TANCRED 23 

'Of course it is,' said the duchess, 'with the en- 
tire and hearty concurrence of every one. Mr. Hun- 
gerford says so. And I must say that, though few 
things could have gratified me more, I quite agree 
with Mr. Hungerford that a Lord Montacute is the 
natural member for the county; and I have no doubt 
that if Mr. Hungerford, or any one else in his posi- 
tion, had not resigned, they never could have met 
our child without feeling the greatest embarrassment.' 

' A man though, and a man of Hungerford's posi- 
tion, an old family in the county, does not like to 
figure as a warming-pan,' said the duke, thought- 
fully. ' I think it has been done in a very handsome 
manner.' 

'And we will show our sense of it,' said the 
duchess. ' The Hungerfords shall feel, when they 
come here on Thursday, that they are among our 
best friends.' 

'That is my own Kate! Here is a letter from 
your brother. They will be here to-morrow. Esk- 
dale cannot come over till Wednesday. He is at 
home, but detained by a meeting about his new har- 
bour.* 

' I am delighted that they will be here to-morrow,' 
said the duchess. ' I am so anxious that he should 
see Kate before the castle is full, when he will have 
a thousand calls upon his time! I feel persuaded 
that he will love her at first sight. And as for their 
being cousins, why, we were cousins, and that did 
not hinder us from loving each other.' 

' If she resemble you as much as you resembled 
your aunt ' said the duke, looking up. 

'She is my perfect image, my very self, Harriet 
says, in disposition, as well as face and form.' 



34 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Then our son has a good chance of being a very 
happy man,' said the duke. 

' That he should come of age, enter Parliament, 
and marry in the same year! We ought to be very 
thankful. What a happy year!' 

' But not one of these events has yet occurred,' 
said the duke, smiling. 

'But they all will,' said the duchess, 'under Prov- 
idence.' 

' I would not precipitate marriage.' 

'Certainly not; nor should 1 wish him to think of 
it before the autumn. I should like him to be mar- 
ried on our wedding-day.' 




CHAPTER V. 




The Heir Comes of Age. 

^g HE sun shone brightly, there was 
a triumphal arch at every road; 
the market-place and the town-hall 
were caparisoned like steeds for 
a tournament, every house had its 
garland; the flags were flying on 
every tower and steeple. There was such a peal of 
bells you could scarcely hear your neighbour's voice; 
then came discharges of artillery, and then bursts of 
music from various bands, all playing different tunes. 
The country people came trooping in, some on horse- 
back, some in carts, some in procession. The Tem- 
perance band made an immense noise, and the Odd 
Fellows were loudly cheered. Every now and then 
one of the duke's yeomanry galloped through the 
town in his regimentals of green and silver, with his 
dark flowing plume and clattering sabre, and with an 
air of business-like desperation, as if he were carry- 
ing a message from the commander-in-chief in the 
thickest of the fight. 

Before the eventful day of which this merry morn 
was the harbinger, the arrivals of guests at the castle 
had been numerous and important. First came the 
brother of the duchess, with his countess, and their 

( 35 ) 



36 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

fair daughter the Lady Katherine, whose fate, uncon- 
sciously to herself, had already been sealed by her 
noble relatives. She was destined to be the third 
Katherine of Bellamont that her fortunate house had 
furnished to these illustrious walls. Nor, if unaware 
of her high lot, did she seem unworthy of it. Her 
mien was prophetic of the state assigned to her. 
This was her first visit to Montacute since her early 
childhood, and she had not encountered her cousin 
since their nursery days. The day after them, Lord 
Eskdale came over from his principal seat in the con- 
tiguous county, of which he was lord-lieutenant. He 
was the first cousin of the duke, his father and the 
second Duke of Bellamont having married two sisters, 
and of course intimately related to the duchess and 
her family. Lord Eskdale exercised a great influence 
over the house of Montacute, though quite unsought 
for by him. He was the only man of the world 
whom they knew, and they never decided upon any- 
thing out of the limited circle of their immediate ex- 
perience without consulting him. Lord Eskdale had 
been the cause of their son going to Eton; Lord Esk- 
dale had recommended them to send him to Christ- 
church. The duke had begged his cousin to be his 
trustee when he married; he had made him his ex- 
ecutor, and had intended him as the guardian of his 
son. Although, from the difference of their habits, 
little thrown together in their earlier youth. Lord 
Eskdale had shown, even then, kind consideration for 
his relative; he had even proposed that they should 
travel together, but the old duke would not consent 
to this. After his death, however, being neighbours 
as well as relatives. Lord Eskdale had become the 
natural friend and counsellor of his Grace. 



TANCRED 37 

The duke deservedly reposed in him implicit con- 
fidence, and entertained an almost unbounded admira- 
tion of his cousin's knowledge of mankind. He was 
scarcely less a favourite or less an oracle with the 
duchess, though there were subjects on which she 
feared Lord Eskdale did not entertain views as serious 
as her own; but Lord Eskdale, with an extreme care- 
lessness of manner, and an apparent negligence of 
the minor arts of pleasing, was a consummate master 
of the feminine idiosyncrasy, and, from a French 
actress to an English duchess, was skilled in guiding 
women without ever letting the curb be felt. Scarcely 
a week elapsed, when Lord Eskdale was in the coun- 
try, that a long letter of difficulties was not received 
by him from Montacute, with an earnest request for 
his immediate advice. His lordship, singularly averse 
to letter writing, and especially to long letter writing, 
used generally in reply to say that, in the course of 
a day or two, he should be in their part of the 
world, and would talk the matter over with them. 

And, indeed, nothing was more amusing than to 
see Lord Eskdale, imperturbable, yet not heedless, 
with his peculiar calmness, something between that 
of a Turkish pasha and an English jockey, standing 
up with his back to the fire and his hands in his 
pockets, and hearing the united statement of a case 
by the Duke and Duchess of Bellamont; the serious 
yet quiet and unexaggerated narrative of his Grace, 
the impassioned interruptions, decided opinions, and 
lively expressions of his wife, when she felt the duke 
was not doing justice to the circumstances, or her 
view of them, and the Spartan brevity with which, 
when both his clients were exhausted, their counsel 
summed up the whole affair, and said three words 



38 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

which seemed suddenly to remove all doubts, and to 
solve all difficulties. In all the business of life, Lord 
Eskdale, though he appreciated their native ability, 
and respected their considerable acquirements, which 
he did not share, looked upon his cousins as two 
children, and managed them as children; but he was 
really attached to them, and the sincere attachment 
of such a character is often worth more than the 
most passionate devotion. The last great domestic 
embarrassment at Montacute had been the affair of 
the cooks. Lord Eskdale had taken this upon his 
own shoulders, and, writing to Daubuz, had sent 
down Leander and his friends to open the minds and 
charm the palates of the north. 

Lord Valentine and his noble parents, and their 
daughter. Lady Florentina, who was a great horse- 
woman, also arrived. The countess, who had once 
been a beauty with the reputation of a wit, and now 
set up for being a wit on the reputation of having 
been a beauty, was the lady of fashion of the party, 
and scarcely knew anybody present, though there 
were many who were her equals and some her supe- 
riors in rank. Her way was to be a little fine, al- 
ways smiling and condescendingly amiable; when 
alone with her husband shrugging her shoulders 
somewhat, and vowing that she was delighted that 
Lord Eskdale was there, as she had somebody to 
speak to. It was what she called 'quite a relief.' A 
relief, perhaps, from Lord and Lady Mountjoy, whom 
she had been avoiding all her life; unfortunate peo- 
ple, who, with a large fortune, lived in a wrong 
square, and asked to their house everybody who was 
nobody; besides. Lord Mountjoy was vulgar, and 
laughed too loud, and Lady Mountjoy called you ' my 



TANCRED 39 

dear,' and showed her teeth. A relief, perhaps, too, 
from the Hon. and Rev. Montacute Moantjoy, who, 
with Lady Eleanor, four daughters and two sons, had 
been invited to celebrate the majority of the future 
chieftain of their house. The countess had what is 
called *a horror of those Mountjoys, and those Mon- 
tacute Mountjoys,' and what added to her annoyance 
was, that Lord Valentine was always flirting with 
the Misses Montacute Mountjoy. 

The countess could find no companions in the 
Duke and Duchess of Clanronald, because, as she 
told her husband, as they could not speak English 
and she could not speak Scotch, it was impossible 
to exchange ideas. The bishop of the diocese was 
there, toothless and tolerant, and wishing to be on 
good terms with all sects, provided they pay church- 
rates, and another bishop far more vigorous and of 
greater fame. By his administration the heir of Bella- 
mont had entered the Christian Church, and by the 
imposition of his hands had been confirmed in it. 
His lordship, a great authority with the duchess, was 
specially invited to be present on the interesting oc- 
casion, when the babe that he had held at the font, 
and the child that he had blessed at the altar, 
was about thus publicly to adopt and acknowledge 
the duties and responsibility of a man. But the 
countess, though she liked bishops, liked them, as 
she told her husband, 'in their place.' What that ex- 
actly was, she did not define; but probably their 
palaces or the House of Lords. 

It was hardly to be expected that her ladyship 
would find any relief in the society of the Marquis and 
Marchioness of Hampshire; for his lordship passed his 
life in being the President of scientific and literary so- 



40 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

cieties, and was ready for anything from the Royal, if 
his turn ever arrived, to opening a Mechanics' Insti- 
tute in his neighbouring town. Lady Hampshire was 
an invalid; but her ailment was one of those mys- 
teries which still remained insoluble, although, in the 
most liberal manner, she delighted to afford her 
friends all the information in her power. Never was 
a votary endowed with a faith at once so lively and 
so capricious. Each year she believed in some new 
remedy, and announced herself on the eve of some 
miraculous cure. But the saint was scarcely canon- 
ised before his claims to beatitude were impugned. 
One year Lady Hampshire never quitted Leamington; 
another, she contrived to combine the infinitesimal 
doses of Hahnemann with the colossal distractions of 
the metropolis. Now her sole conversation was the 
water cure. Lady Hampshire was to begin immedi- 
ately after her visit to Montacute, and she spoke m 
her sawney voice of factitious enthusiasm, as if she 
pitied the lot of all those who were not about to 
sleep in wet sheets. 

The members for the county, with their wives and 
daughters, the Hungerfords and the lldertons, Sir 
Russell Malpas, or even Lord Hull, an Irish peer with 
an English estate, and who represented one of the 
divisions, were scarcely a relief. Lord Hull was a 
bachelor, and had twenty thousand a year, and would 
not have been too old for Florentina, if Lord Hull 
had only lived in 'society,' learnt how to dress and 
how to behave, and had avoided that peculiar coarse- 
ness of manners and complexion which seem the 
inevitable results of a provincial life. What are forty- 
five or even forty-eight years, if a man do not get 
up too early or go to bed too soon, if he be 



TANCRED 41 

dressed by the right persons, and, early accustomed 
to the society of women, he possesses that flexibiHty 
of manner and that readiness of gentle repartee 
which a feminine apprenticeship can alone confer? 
But Lord Hull was a man with a red face and a grey 
head on whom coarse indulgence and the selfish neg- 
ligence of a country life had already conferred a 
shapeless form; and who, dressed something like 
a groom, sat at dinner in stolid silence by Lady 
Hampshire, who, whatever were her complaints, had 
certainly the art, if only from her questions, of mak- 
ing her neighbours communicative. The countess 
examined Lord Hull through her eye-glass with curi- 
ous pity at so fine a fortune and so good a family 
being so entirely thrown away. Had he been brought 
up in a civilised manner, lived six months in May 
Fair, passed his carnival at Paris, never sported ex- 
cept in Scotland, and occasionally visited a German 
bath, even Lord Hull might have 'fined down.' His 
hair need not have been grey if it had been attended 
to; his complexion would not have been so glaring; 
his hands never could have grown to so huge a 
shape. 

What a party, where the countess was absolutely 
driven to speculate on the possible destinies of a Lord 
Hull! But in this party there was not a single young 
man, at least not a single young man one had ever 
heard of, except her son, and he was of no use. The 
Duke of Bellamont knew no young men; the duke did 
not even belong to a club; the Duchess of Bellamont 
knew no young men; she never gave and she never 
attended an evening party. As for the county youth, 
the young Hungerfords and the young lldertons, the 
best of them formed part of the London crowd. 



42 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Some of them, by complicated manoeuvres, might 
even have made their way into the countess's crowded 
saloons on a miscellaneous night. She knew the 
length of their tether. They ranged, as the Price 
Current says, from eight to three thousand a year. 
Not the figure that purchases a Lady Florentina! 

There were many other guests, and some of them 
notable, though not of the class and character to 
interest the fastidious mother of Lord Valentine; but 
whoever and whatever they might be, of the sixty 
or seventy persons who were seated each day in the 
magnificent banqueting-room of Montacute Castle, 
feasting, amid pyramids of gold plate, on the master- 
pieces of Leander, there was not a single individual 
who did not possess one of the two great qualifica- 
tions: they were all of them cousins of the Duke of 
Bellamont, or proprietors in his county. 

But we must not anticipate, the great day of the 
festival having hardly yet commenced. 




CHAPTER VI. 




A Festal Day. 

N THE Home Park was a colossal 
pavilion, which held more than two 
thousand persons, and in which 
the townsfolk of Montacute were 
to dine; at equal distances were 
several smaller tents, each of differ- 
ent colours and patterns, and each bearing on a standard 
the name of one of the surrounding parishes which 
belonged to the Duke of Bellamont, and to the con- 
venience and gratification of whose inhabitants these 
tents were to-day dedicated. There was not a man 
of Buddleton or Fuddleton; not a yeoman or peasant of 
Montacute super Mare or Montacute Abbotts, nor 
of Percy Bellamont nor Friar's Bellamont, nor Winch 
nor Finch, nor of Mandeville Stokes nor Mandeville 
Bois; not a goodman true of Carleton and Ingleton 
and Kirkby and Dent, and Gillamoor and Padmore 
and Hutton le Hale; not a stout forester from the 
glades of Thorp, or the sylvan homes of Hurst Lyd- 
gate and Bishopstowe, that knew not where foamed 
and flowed the duke's ale, that was to quench the 
longings of his thirsty village. And their wives and 
daughters were equally welcome. At the entrance of 

(43) 



44 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

each tent, the duke's servants invited all to enter, 
supplied them with required refreshments, or indicated 
their appointed places at the approaching banquet. 
In general, though there were many miscellaneous 
parties, each village entered the park in procession, 
with its flag and its band. 

At noon the scene presented the appearance of an 
immense but well-ordered fair. In the background, 
men and boys climbed poles or raced in sacks, while 
the exploits of the ginglers, their mischievous ma- 
noeuvres and subtle combinations, elicited frequent 
bursts of laughter. Further on, two long-menaced 
cricket matches called forth all the skill and energy of 
Fuddleton and Buddleton, and Winch and Finch. 
The great throng of the population, however, was in 
the precincts of the terrace, where, in the course of 
the morning, it was known that the duke and duch- 
ess, with the hero of the day and all their friends, 
were to appear, to witness the sports of the people, 
and especially the feats of the morrice-dancers, who 
were at this moment practising before a very numer- 
ous and delighted audience. In the meantime, bells, 
drums, and trumpets, an occasional volley, and the 
frequent cheers and laughter of the multitude, com- 
bined with the brilliancy of the sun and the bright- 
ness of the ale to make a right gladsome scene. 

'It's nothing to what it will be at night,' said one 
of the duke's footmen to his family, his father and 
mother, two sisters and a young brother, listening to 
him with open mouths, and staring at his state livery 
with mingled feelings of awe and affection. They had 
come over from Bellamont Friars, and their son had 
asked the steward to give him the care of the pavilion 
of that village, in order that he might look after his 



TANCRED 45 

friends. Never was a family who esteemed themselves 
so fortunate or felt so happy. This was having a 
friend at court, indeed. 

'It's nothing to what it will be at night,' said 
Thomas. 'You will have "Hail, star of Bellamont!" 
and "God save the Queen!" a crown, three stars, 
four flags, and two coronets, all in coloured lamps, 
letters six feet high, on the castle. There will be 
one hundred beacons lit over the space of fifty miles 
the moment a rocket is shot off from the Round 
Tower; and as for fireworks, Bob, you'll see them at 
last. Bengal lights, and the largest wheels will be as 
common as squibs and crackers; and I have heard 

say, though it is not to be mentioned ' And he 

paused. 

' We'll not open our mouths,' said his father, ear- 
nestly, 

'You had better not tell us,' said his mother, in a 
nervous paroxysm; 'for I am in such a fluster, I am 
sure I cannot answer for myself, and then Thomas 
may lose his place for breach of conference.' 

'Nonsense, mother,' said his sisters, who snubbed 
their mother almost as readily as is the gracious habit 
of their betters. ' Pray tell us, Tom.' 

'Ay, ay, Tom,' said his younger brother. 

'Well,' said Tom, in a confidential whisper, 'won't 
there be a transparency! 1 have heard say the Queen 
never had anything like it. You won't be able to see 
it for the first quarter of an hour, there will be such 
a blaze of fire and rockets; but when it does come, 
they say it's like heaven opening; the young markiss 
on a cloud, with his hand on his heart, in his new 
uniform.' 

'Dear me!' said the mother. 'I knew him before 



46 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

he was weaned. The duchess suckled him herself, 
which shows her heart is very true; for they may say 
what they like, but if another's milk is in your child's 
veins, he seems, in a sort of way, as much her bairn 
as your own.' 

'Mother's milk makes a true born Englishman,' 
said the father; 'and I make no doubt our young 
markiss will prove the same.' 

'How I long to see him!' exclaimed one of the 
daughters. 

'And so do I!' said her sister; 'and in his uni- 
form! How beautiful it must be!' 

'Well, I don't know,' said the mother; 'and per- 
haps you will laugh at me for saying so, but after 
seeing my Thomas in his state Hvery, I don't care 
much for seeing anything else.' 

' Mother, how can you say such things ? I am 
afraid the crowd will be very great at the fireworks. 
We must try to get a good place.' 

'I have arranged all that,' said Thomas, with a 
triumphant look. 'There will be an inner circle for 
the steward's friends, and you will be let in.' 

'Oh!' exclaimed his sisters. 

'Well, I hope I shall get through the day,' said his 
mother; 'but it's rather a trial, after our quiet hfe.' 

'And when will they come on the terrace, 
Thomas ?' 

'You see, they are waiting for the corporation, 
that's the mayor and town council of Montacute; 
they are coming up with an address. There! Do 
you hear that? That's the signal gun. They are 
leaving the town-hall at this same moment. Now, in 
three-quarters of an hour's time or so, the duke and 
duchess, and the young markiss, and all of them, 



TANCRED 47 

will come on the terrace. So you be alive, and draw 
near, and get a good place. I must look after these 
people.' 

About the same time that the cannon announced that 
the corporation had quitted the town-hall, some one 
tapped at the chamber-door of Lord Eskdale, who 
was sealing a letter in his private room. 

'Well, Harris.?' said Lord Eskdale, looking up, and 
recognising his valet. 

'His Grace has been inquiring for your lordship 
several times,' replied Mr. Harris, with a perplexed 
air. 

'I shall be with him in good time,' replied his 
lordship, again looking down. 

'If you could manage to come down at once, my 
lord,' said Mr. Harris. 

'Why.?' 

'Mr. Leander wishes to see your lordship very 
much.' 

'Ah! Leander!' said Lord Eskdale, in a more in- 
terested tone. 'What does he want?' 

'1 have not seen him,' said Mr. Harris; 'but Mr. 
Prevost tells me that his feelings are hurt.' 

'I hope he has not struck,' said Lord Eskdale, 
with a comical glance. 

'Something of that sort,' said Mr. Harris, very 
seriously. 

Lord Eskdale had a great sympathy with artists; 
he was well acquainted with that irritability which is 
said to be the characteristic of the creative power; 
genius always found in him an indulgent arbiter. 
He was convinced that if the feelings of a rare spirit 
like Leander were hurt, they were not to be trifled 
with. He felt responsible for the presence of one so 



48 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

eminent in a country where, perhaps, he was not 
properly appreciated; and Lord Eskdale descended to 
the steward's room with the consciousness of an im- 
portant, probably a diificult, mission. 

The kitchen of Montacute Castle was of the old 
style, fitted for baronial feasts. It covered a great 
space, and was very lofty. Now they build them in 
great houses on a different system; even more dis- 
tinguished by height, but far more condensed in area, 
as it is thought that a dish often suffers from the 
distances which the cook has to move over in col- 
lecting its various component parts. The new princi- 
ple seems sound; the old practice, however, was 
more picturesque. The kitchen at Montacute was 
like the preparation for the famous wedding feast of 
Prince Riquet with the Tuft, when the kind earth 
opened, and revealed that genial spectacle of white- 
capped cooks, and endless stoves and stewpans. The 
steady blaze of two colossal fires was shrouded by 
vast screens. Everywhere, rich materials and silent 
artists; business without bustle, and the all-pervading 
magic of method. Philippon was preparing a sauce; 
Dumoreau, in another quarter of the spacious cham- 
ber, was arranging some truffles; the Englishman, 
Smit, was fashioning a cutlet. Between these three 
generals of division aides-de-camp perpetually passed, 
in the form of active and observant marmitons, more 
than one of whom, as he looked on the great masters 
around him, and with the prophetic faculty of genius 
surveyed the future, exclaimed to himself, like Cor- 
reggio, 'And I also will be a cook.' 

In this animated and interesting scene was only 
one unoccupied individual, or rather occupied only 
with his own sad thoughts. This was Papa Prevost, 



TANCRED 49 

leaning against rather than sitting on a dresser, with 
his arms folded, his idle knife stuck in his girdle, and 
the tassel of his cap awry with vexation. His gloomy 
brow, however, lit up as Mr. Harris, for whom he 
was waiting with anxious expectation, entered, and 
summoned him to the presence of Lord Eskdale, who, 
with a shrewd yet lounging air, which concealed his 
own foreboding perplexity, said, ' Well, Prevost, what 
is the matter? The people here been impertinent?' 

Prevost shook his head. 'We never were in a 
house, my lord, where they were more obliging. It 
is something much worse.' 

'Nothing wrong about your fish, I hope? Well, 
what is it?' 

'Leander, my lord, has been dressing dinners for 
a week: dinners, I will be bound to say, which were 
never equalled in the Imperial kitchen, and the duke 
has never made a single observation, or sent him a 
single message. Yesterday, determined to outdo even 
himself, he sent up some escalopes de laitances de 
carpes a la Bellamont. In my time I have seen noth- 
ing like it, my lord. Ask Philippon, ask Dumoreau, 
what they thought of it! Even the Englishman, Smit, 
who never says anything, opened his mouth and ex- 
claimed; as for the marmitons, they were breathless, 
and I thought Achille, the youth of whom I spoke to 
you, my lord, and who appears to me to be born 
with the true feeling, would have been overcome 
with emotion. When it was finished, Leander re- 
tired to his room — I attended him — and covered his 
face with his hands. Would you believe it, my lord! 
Not a word; not even a message. All this morning 
Leander has waited in the last hope. Nothing, abso- 
lutely nothing! How can he compose when he is 



so BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

not appreciated ? Had he been appreciated, he would 
to-day not only have repeated the escalopes a la Bel- 
lamont, but perhaps even invented what might have 
outdone it. It is unheard of, my lord. The late lord 
Monmouth would have sent for Leander the very 
evening, or have written to him a beautiful letter, 
which would have been preserved in his family; M. 
de Sidonia would have sent him a tankard from his 
table. These things in themselves are nothing; but 
they prove to a man of genius that he is understood. 
Had Leander been in the Imperial kitchen, or even 
with the Emperor of Russia, he would have been 
decorated!' 

'Where is he?' said Lord Eskdale. 

'He is alone in the cook's room.' 

'I will go and say a word to him.' 

Alone, in the cook's room, gazing in listless va- 
cancy on the fire, that fire which, under his influence, 
had often achieved so many master-works, was the 
great artist who was not appreciated. No longer 
suffering under mortification, but overwhelmed by 
that exhaustion which follows acute sensibility and 
the over-tension of the creative faculty, he looked 
round as Lord Eskdale entered, and when he per- 
ceived who was his visitor, he rose immediately, 
bowed very low, and then sighed. 

' Prevost thinks we are not exactly appreciated 
here,' said Lord Eskdale. 

Leander bowed again, and still sighed. 

'Prevost does not understand the affair,' continued 
Lord Eskdale. 'Why I wished you to come down 
here, Leander, was not to receive the applause of my 
cousin and his guests, but to form their taste.' 

Here was a great idea; exciting and ennobling. It 



TANCRED 51 

threw quite a new light upon the position of Leander. 
He started; his brow seemed to dear. Leander, then, 
like other eminent men, had duties to perform as well 
as rights to enjoy; he had a right to fame, but it 
was also his duty to form and direct public taste. 
That then was the reason he was brought down to 
Bellamont Castle; because some of the greatest per- 
sonages in England, who never had eaten a proper 
dinner in their lives, would have an opportunity, for 
the first time, of witnessing art. What could the 
praise of the Duke of Clanronald, or Lord Hampshire, 
or Lord Hull, signify to one who had shared the con- 
fidence of a Lord Monmouth, and whom Sir Alex- 
ander Grant, the first judge in Europe, had declared 
the only man of genius of the age? Leander erred 
too in supposing that his achievements had been lost 
upon the guests at Bellamont. Insensibly his feats had 
set them a-thinking. They had been like Cossacks in 
a picture-gallery; but the Clanronalds, the Hampshires, 
the Hulls, would return to their homes impressed 
with a great truth, that there is a difference between 
eating and dining. Was this nothing for Leander to 
have effected? Was it nothing, by this development 
of taste, to assist in supporting that aristocratic in- 
fluence which he wished to cherish, and which can 
alone encourage art ? If anything can save the aris- 
tocracy in this levelling age, it is an appreciation of 
men of genius. Certainly it would have been very 
gratifying to Leander if his Grace had only sent him 
a message, or if Lord Montacute had expressed a 
wish to see him. He had been long musing over 
some dish d la Montacute for this very day. The 
young lord was reputed to have talent; this dish 
might touch his fancy: the homage of a great artist 



52 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

flatters youth;- this offering of genius might colour 
his destiny. But what, after all, did this signify? 
Leander had a mission to perform. 

'If I were you, 1 would exert myself, Leander,' 
said Lord Eskdale. 

'Ah! my lord, if all men were like you! If artists 
were only sure of being appreciated; if we were but 
understood, a dinner would become a sacrifice to the 
gods, and a kitchen would be Paradise.' 

In the meantime, the mayor and town-councillors 
of Montacute, in their robes of office, and preceded 
by their bedels and their mace-bearer, have entered 
the gates of the castle. They pass into the great hall, 
the most ancient part of the building, with its open 
roof of Spanish chestnut, its screen and gallery and 
dais, its painted windows and marble floor. Ascend- 
ing the dais, they are ushered into an antechamber, 
the first of that suite of state apartments that opens 
on the terrace. Leaving on one side the principal 
dining-room and the library, they proceeded through 
the green drawing-room, so called from its silken 
hangings, the red drawing-room, covered with ruby 
velvet, and both adorned, but not encumbered, with 
pictures of the choicest art, into the principal or 
duchesses' drawing-room, thus entitled from its com- 
plete collection of portraits of Duchesses of Bellamont. 
It was a spacious and beautifully proportioned cham- 
ber, hung with amber satin, its ceiling by Zucchero, 
whose rich colours were relieved by the burnished 
gilding. The corporation trod tremblingly over the 
gorgeous carpet of Axminster, which displayed, in 
vivid colours and colossal proportions, the shield and 
supporters of Bellamont, and threw a hasty glance at 
the vases of porphyry and malachite, and mosaic 



TANCRED 53 

tables covered with precious toys, which were grouped 
about. 

Thence they were ushered into the Montacute 
room, adorned, among many interesting pictures, by 
perhaps the finest performance of Lawrence, a por- 
trait of the present duke, just after his marriage. Tall 
and graceful, with a clear dark complexion, regular 
features, eyes of liquid tenderness, a frank brow, and 
rich clustering hair, the accomplished artist had seized 
and conveyed the character of a high-spirited but 
gentle-hearted cavalier. From the Montacute chamber 
they entered the ball-room; very spacious, white and 
gold, a coved ceiling, large Venetian lustres, and the 
walls of looking-glass, enclosing friezes of festive 
sculpture. Then followed another antechamber, in 
the centre of which was one of the masterpieces of 
Canova. This room, lined with footmen in state liv- 
eries, completed the suite that opened on the terrace. 
The northern side of this chamber consisted of a large 
door, divided, and decorated in its panels with em- 
blazoned shields of arms. 

The valves being thrown open, the mayor and 
town-council of Montacute were ushered into a gal- 
lery one hundred feet long, and which occupied a 
great portion of the northern side of the castle. The 
panels of this gallery enclosed a series of pictures in 
tapestry, which represented the principal achievements 
of the third crusade. A Montacute had been one of 
the most distinguished knights in that great adven- 
ture, and had saved the life of Coeur de Lion at the 
siege of Ascalon. In after-ages a Duke of Bellamont, 
who was our ambassador at Paris, had given orders 
to the Gobelins factory for the execution of this 
series of pictures from cartoons by the most celebrated 



54 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

artists of the time. Tiie subjects of the tapestry had 
obtained for the magnificent chamber, which they 
adorned and rendered so interesting, the title of 
'The Crusaders' Gallery.' 

At the end of this gallery, surrounded by their 
guests, their relatives, and their neighbours; by high 
nobility, by reverend prelates, by the members and 
notables of the county, and by some of the chief 
tenants of the duke, a portion of whom were never 
absent from any great carousing or high ceremony 
that occurred within his walls, the Duke and Duchess 
of Bellamont and their son, a little in advance of the 
company, stood to receive the congratulatory addresses 
of the mayor and corporation of their ancient and 
faithful town of Montacute; the town which their 
fathers had built and adorned, which they had often 
represented in Parliament in the good old days, and 
which they took care should then enjoy its fair pro- 
portion of the good old things; a town, every house 
in which belonged to them, and of which there was 
not an inhabitant who, in his own person or in that 
of his ancestry, had not felt the advantages of the 
noble connection. 

The duke bowed to the corporation, with the 
duchess on his left hand; and on his right there 
stood a youth, above the middle height and of a 
frame completely and gracefully formed. His dark 
brown hair, in those hyacinthine curls which Grecian 
poets have celebrated, and which Grecian sculptors 
have immortalised, clustered over his brow, which, 
however, they only partially concealed. It was pale, 
as was his whole countenance, but the liquid richness 
of the dark brown eye, and the colour of the lip, de- 
noted anything but a languid circulation. The features 



TANCRED 



SS 



were regular, and inclined rather to a refinement 
which might have imparted to the countenance a 
character of too much delicacy, had it not been for 
the deep meditation of the brow, and for the lower 
part of the visage, which intimated indomitable will 
and an iron resolution. 

Placed for the first time in his life in a public 
position, and under circumstances which might have 
occasioned some degree of embarrassment even to 
those initiated in the world, nothing was more re- 
markable in the demeanour of Lord Montacute than 
his self-possession; nor was there in his carriage 
anything studied, or which had the character of being 
preconceived. Every movement or gesture was dis- 
tinguished by what may be called a graceful gravity. 
With a total absence of that excitement which seemed 
so natural to his age and situation, there was nothing 
in his manner which approached to nonchalance or 
indifference. It would appear that he duly estimated 
the importance of the event they were commemo- 
rating, yet was not of a habit of mind that over- 
estimated anything. 




15 B. D. 



CHAPTER VII. 




A Strange Proposal. 

<J HE week of celebration was over: 
some few guests remained, near 
relatives, and not very rich, the 
Montacute Mountjoys, for exam- 
ple. They came from a considerable 
distance, and the duke insisted that 
they should remain until the duchess went to Lon- 
don, an event, by-the-bye, which was to occur very 
speedily. Lady Eleanor was rather agreeable, and the 
duchess a little liked her; there were four daughters, 
to be sure, and not very lively, but they sang in the 
evening. 

It was a bright morning, and the duchess, with a 
heart prophetic of happiness, wished to disburthen it 
to her son; she meant to propose to him, therefore, to 
be her companion in her walk, and she had sent 
to his rooms in vain, and was inquiring after him, 
when she was informed that 'Lord Montacute was 
with his Grace.' 

A smile of satisfaction flitted over her face, as she 
recalled the pleasant cause of the conference that was 
now taking place between the father and the son. 
Let us see how it advanced. 
(56) 



TANCRED 57 

The duke is in his private library, consisting chiefly 
of the statutes at large, Hansard, the Annual Register, 
Parliamentary Reports, and legal treatises on the 
powers and duties of justices of the peace. A por- 
trait of his mother is over the mantel-piece: opposite 
it a huge map of the county. His correspondence on 
public business with the secretary of state, and the 
various authorities of the shire, is admirably arranged: 
for the duke was what is called an excellent man of 
business, that is to say, methodical, and an adept in 
all the small arts of routine. These papers were de- 
posited, after having been ticketed with a date and a 
summary of their contents, and tied with much tape, 
in a large cabinet, which occupied nearly one side of 
the room, and on the top of which were busts in 
marble of Mr. Pitt, George III., and the Duke of Wel- 
lington. 

The duke was leaning back in his chair, which it 
seemed, from his air and position, he had pushed 
back somewhat suddenly from his writing table, and 
an expression of painful surprise, it cannot be denied, 
dwelt on his countenance. Lord Montacute was on 
his legs, leaning with his left arm on the chimney- 
piece, very serious, and, if possible, paler than usual. 

'You take me quite by surprise,' said the duke; 
' 1 thought it was an arrangement that would have 
deeply gratified you.' 

Lord Montacute slightly bowed his head, but said 
nothing. His father continued. 

'Not wish to enter Parliament at present! Why, 
that is all very well, and if, as was once the case, 
we could enter Parliament when we liked, and how 
we liked, the wish might be very reasonable. If I 
could ring my bell, and return you member for Mon- 



58 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tacute with as much ease as I could send over to 
Bellamont to engage a special train to take us to 
town, you might be justified in indulging a fancy. 
But how and when, I should like to know, are you 
to enter Parliament now? This Parliament will last: 
it will go on to the lees. Lord Eskdale told me so 
not a week ago. Well then, at any rate, you lose 
three years: for three years you are an idler. I never 
thought that was your character. I have always had 
an impression you would turn your mind to public 
business, that the county might look up to you. If 
you have what are called higher views, you should 
not forget there is a great opening now in public life, 
which may not offer again. The Duke is resolved to 
give the preference, in carrying on the business of the 
country, to the aristocracy. He believes this is our 
only means of preservation. He told me so himself. 
If it be so, I fear we are doomed. I hope we may 
be of some use to our country without being minis- 
ters of state. But let that pass. As long as the Duke 
lives, he is omnipotent, and will have his way. If 
you come into Parliament now, and show any dispo- 
sition for office, you may rely upon it you will not 
long be unemployed. I have no doubt I could arrange 
that you should move the address of next session. I 
dare say Lord Eskdale could manage this, and, if he 
could not, though I abhor asking a minister for any- 
thing, I should, under the circumstances, feel perfectly 
justified in speaking to the Duke on the subject my- 
self, and,' added his Grace, in a lowered tone, but 
with an expression of great earnestness and determi- 
nation, 'I flatter myself that if the Duke of Bellamont 
chooses to express a wish, it would not be disre- 
garded.' 



TANCRED 



59 



Lord Montacute cast his dark, intelligent eyes upon 
the floor, and seemed plunged in thought, 

'Besides,' added the duke, after a moment's pause, 
and inferring, from the silence of his son, that he was 
making an impression, 'suppose Hungerford is not in 
the same humour this time three years which he is 
in now. Probably he may be; possibly he may not. 
Men do not like to be baulked when they think they 
are doing a very kind and generous and magnani- 
mous thing. Hungerford is not a warming-pan; we 
must remember that; he never was originally, and if 
he had been, he has been member for the county too 
long to be so considered now. I should be placed in 
a most painful position, if, this time three years, I had 
to withdraw my support from Hungerford, in order 
to secure your return.' 

'There would be no necessity, under any circum- 
stances, for that, my dear father,' said Lord Monta- 
cute, looking up, and speaking in a voice which, 
though somewhat low, was of that organ that at 
once arrests attention; a voice that comes alike from 
the brain and from the heart, and seems made to 
convey both profound thought and deep emotion. 
There is no index of character so sure as the voice. 
There are tones, tones brilliant and gushing, which im- 
part a quick and pathetic sensibility: there are others 
that, deep and yet calm, seem the just interpreters of 
a serene and exalted intellect. But the rarest and the 
most precious of all voices is that which combines 
passion and repose; and whose rich and restrained 
tones exercise, perhaps, on the human frame a stronger 
spell than even the fascination of the eye, or that be- 
witching influence of the hand, which is the privilege 
of the higher races of Asia. 



6o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'There would be no necessity, under any circum- 
stances, for that, my dear father,' said Lord Monta- 
cute, 'for, to be frank, I believe I should feel as little 
disposed to enter Parliament three years hence as 
now.' 

The duke looked still more surprised. ' Mr. Fox 
was not of age when he took his seat,' said his Grace. 
'You know how old Mr. Pitt was when he was a 
minister. Sir Robert, too, was in harness very early. 
I have always heard the good judges say. Lord Esk- 
dale, for example, that a man might speak in Parlia- 
ment too soon, but it was impossible to go in too 
soon.' 

'If he wished to succeed in that assembly,' replied 
Lord Montacute, ' I can easily believe it. In all things 
an early initiation must be of advantage. But 1 have 
not that wish.' 

'I don't like to see a man take his seat in the 
House of Lords who has not been in the House of 
Commons. He seems to me always, in a manner, 
unfledged.' 

'It will be a long time, I hope, my dear father, 
before I take my seat in the House of Lords,' said 
Lord Montacute, 'if, indeed, I ever do.' 

'In the course of nature 'tis a certainty.' 

'Suppose the Duke's plan for perpetuating an aris- 
tocracy do not succeed,' said Lord Montacute, 'and 
our house ceases to exist.?' 

His father shrugged his shoulders. 'It is not our 
business to suppose that. I hope it never will be the 
business of any one, at least seriously. This is a 
great country, and it has become great by its aristoc- 
racy.' 

'You think, then, our sovereigns did nothing for 



TANCRED 6i 

our greatness, — Queen Elizabeth, for example, of 
whose visit to Montacute you are so proud?' 

'They performed their part.' 

'And have ceased to exist. We may have per- 
formed our part, and may meet the same fate.' 

'Why, you are talking liberalism!' 

' Hardly that, my dear father, for I have not ex- 
pressed an opinion.' 

' 1 wish I knew what your opinions were, my dear 
boy, or even your wishes.' 

'Well, then, to do my duty.' 

'Exactly; you are a pillar of the State; support the 
State.' 

'Ah! if any one would but tell me what the State 
is,' said Lord Montacute, sighing. 'It seems to me 
your pillars remain, but they support nothing; in that 
case, though the shafts may be perpendicular, and the 
capitals very ornate, they are no longer props, they 
are a ruin.' 

' You would hand us over, then, to the ten- 
pounders ?' 

'They do not even pretend to be a State,' said 
Lord Montacute; 'they do not even profess to sup- 
port anything; on the contrary, the essence of their 
philosophy is, that nothing is to be established, and 
everything is to be left to itself.' 

' The common sense of this country and the fifty 
pound clause will carry us through,' said the duke. 

'Through what?' inquired his son. 

'This — this state of transition,' replied his father. 

'A passage to what?' 

'Ah! that is a question the wisest cannot answer.' 

'But into which the weakest, among whom I class 
myself, have surely a right to inquire.' 



62 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Unquestionably; and I know nothing that will 
tend more to assist you in your researches than act- 
ing with practical men.' 

'And practising all their blunders,' said Lord Mon- 
tacute. ' I can conceive an individual who has once 
been entrapped into their haphazard courses, continu- 
ing in the fatal confusion to which he has contributed 
his quota; but I am at least free, and 1 wish to con- 
tinue so.' 

'And do nothing.?' 

' But does it follow that a man is infirm of action 
because he declines fighting in the dark?' 

'And how would you act, then.? What are your 
plans? Have you any?' 

'1 have.' 

'Well, that is satisfactory,' said the duke, with 
animation. 'Whatever they are, you know you may 
count upon my doing everything that is possible to 
forward your wishes. I know they cannot be un- 
worthy ones, for I believe, my child, you are incapa- 
ble of a thought that is not good or great.' 

'1 wish 1 knew what was good and great,' said 
Lord Montacute; '1 would struggle to accomplish it.' 

'But you have formed some views; you have 
some plans. Speak to me of them, and without re- 
serve; as to a friend, the most affectionate, the most 
devoted.' 

'My father,' said Lord Montacute, and moving, he 
drew a chair to the table, and seated himself by the 
duke, 'you possess and have a right to my confi- 
dence. I ought not to have said that 1 doubted about 
what was good; for I know you.' 

'Sons like you make good fathers.' 

'It is not always so,' said Lord Montacute; 'you 



TANCRED 63 

have been to me more than a father, and 1 bear to 
you and to my mother a profound and fervent affec- 
tion; an affection,' he added, in a faltering tone, 
'that is rarer, I believe, in this age than it was in 
old days. 1 feel it at this moment more deeply,' he 
continued, in a firmer tone, 'because I am about to 
propose that we should for a time separate.' 

The duke turned pale, and leant forward in his 
chair, but did not speak. 

'You have proposed to me to-day,' continued 
Lord Montacute, after a momentary pause, 'to enter 
public life. I do not shrink from its duties. On the 
contrary, from the position in which I am born, still 
more from the impulse of my nature, I am desirous 
to fulfil them. 1 have meditated on them, I may say, 
even for years. But I cannot find that it is part of 
my duty to maintain the order of things, for 1 will not call 
it system, which at present prevails in our country. It 
seems to me that it cannot last, as nothing can endure, 
or ought to endure, that is not founded upon principle; 
and its principle 1 have not discovered. In nothing, 
whether it be religion, or government, or manners, 
sacred or political or social life, do I find faith; and 
if there be no faith, how can there be duty ? Is there 
such a thing as religious truth ? Is there such a thing 
as political right? Is there such a thing as social 
propriety ? Are these facts, or are they mere phrases ? 
And if they be facts, where are they likely to be 
found in England.? Is truth in our Church.? Why, 
then, do you support dissent ? Who has the right to 
govern? The monarch? You have robbed him of 
his prerogative. The aristocracy ? You confess to 
me that we exist by sufferance. The people ? They 
themselves tell you that they are nullities. Every ses- 



64 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

sion of that Parliament in which you wish to intro- 
duce me, the method by which power is distributed 
is called in question, altered, patched up, and again 
impugned. As for our morals, tell me, is charity the 
supreme virtue, or the greatest of errors ? Our social 
system ought to depend on a clear conception of 
this point. Our morals differ in different counties, 
in different towns, in different streets, even in differ- 
ent Acts of Parliament. What is moral in London is 
immoral in Montacute; what is crime among the 
multitude is only vice among the few.' 

'You are going into first principles,' said the duke, 
much surprised. 

'Give me then second principles,' replied his son; 
'give me any.' 

'We must take a general view of things to form 
an opinion,' said his father, mildly. 'The general 
condition of England is superior to that of any other 
country; it cannot be denied that, on the whole, 
there is more political freedom, more social happi- 
ness, more sound religion, and more material pros- 
perity among us, than in any nation in the world.' 

'I might question all that,' said his son; 'but they 
are considerations that do not affect my views. If 
other States are worse than we are, and I hope they are 
not, our condition is not mended, but the contrary, 
for we then need the salutary stimulus of example.' 

'There is no sort of doubt,' said the duke, 'that 
the state of England at this moment is the most 
flourishing that has ever existed, certainly in modern 
times. What with these railroads, even the condition 
of the poor, which I admit was lately far from satis- 
factory, is infinitely improved. Every man has work 
who needs it, and wages are even high.' 



TANCRED 6s 

'The railroads may have improved, in a certain 
sense, the condition of the working classes almost as 
much as that of members of Parliament. They have 
been a good thing for both of them. And if you 
think that more labour is all that is wanted by the 
people of England, we may be easy for a time. I see 
nothing in this fresh development of material industry, 
but fresh causes of moral deterioration. You have an- 
nounced to the millions that there welfare is to be 
tested by the amount of their wages. Money is to 
be the cupel of their worth, as it is of all other 
classes. You propose for their conduct the least en- 
nobling of all impulses. If you have seen an aristocracy 
invariably become degraded under such influence; if 
all the vices of a middle class may be traced to such 
an absorbing motive; why are we to believe that the 
people should be more pure, or that they should escape 
the catastrophe of the policy that confounds the happi- 
ness with the wealth of nations.?' 

The duke shook his head and then said, 'You 
should not forget we live in an artificial state.' 

'So I often hear, sir,' replied his son; 'but where 
is the art? It seems to me the very quality wanting 
to our present condition. Art is order, method, har- 
monious results obtained by fine and powerful prin- 
ciples. 1 see no art in our condition. The people of 
this country have ceased to be a nation. They are a 
crowd, and only kept in some rude provisional dis- 
cipline by the remains of that old system which they 
are daily destroying.' 

'But what would you do, my dear boy?' said his 
Grace, looking up very distressed. 'Can you remedy 
the state of things in which we find ourselves?' 

'I am not a teacher,' said Lord Montacute, mourn- 



66 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

fully; 'I only ask you, I supplicate you, my dear 
father, to save me from contributing to this quick 
corruption that surrounds us,' 

'You shall be master of your own actions. I of- 
fer you counsel, I give no commands; and, as for the 
rest. Providence will guard us.' 

Mf an angel would but visit our house as he visited 
the house of Lot!' said Montacute, in a tone almost of 
anguish. 

'Angels have performed their part,' said the duke. 
'We have received instructions from one higher than 
angels. It is enough for all of us.' 

'It is not enough for me,' said Lord Montacute, 
with a glowing cheek, and rising abruptly. ' It was 
not enough for the Apostles; for though they listened 
to the sermon on the mount, and partook of the first 
communion, it was still necessary that He should ap- 
pear to them again, and promise them a Comforter. 
I require one,' he added, after a momentary pause, 
but in an agitated voice, '1 must seek one. Yes! my 
dear father, it is of this that 1 would speak to you; it 
is this which for a long time has oppressed my spirit, 
and filled me often with intolerable gloom. We must 
separate. I must leave you, I must leave that dear 
mother, those beloved parents, in whom are con- 
centred all my earthly affections; but 1 obey an im- 
pulse that 1 believe comes from above. Dearest and 
best of men, you will not thwart me; you will for- 
give, you v/ill aid me!' And he advanced and threw 
himself into the arms of his father. 

The duke pressed Lord Montacute to his heart, 
and endeavoured, though himself agitated and much 
distressed, to penetrate the mystery of this ebullition. 
'He says we must separate,' thought the duke to 



TANCRED 67 

himself. 'Ah! he has lived too much at home, too 
much alone; he has read and pondered too much; he 
has moped. Eskdale was right two years ago. I 
wish I had sent him to Paris, but his mother was so 
alarmed; and, indeed, 'tis a precious life! The House 
of Commons would have been just the thing for him. 
He would have worked on committees and grown 
practical. But something must be done for him, dear 
child! He says we must separate; he wants to 
travel. And perhaps he ought to travel. But a life 
on which so much depends! And what will Kath- 
erine say? It will kill her. I could screw myself up 
to it. I would send him well attended. Brace should 
go with him; he understands the Continent; he was 
in the Peninsular war; and he should have a skilful 
physician. I see how it is; 1 must act with decision, 
and break it to his mother.' 

These ideas passed through the duke's mind dur- 
ing the few seconds that he embraced his son, and 
endeavoured at the same time to convey consolation 
by the expression of his affection, and his anxiety at 
all times to contribute to his child's happiness. 

'My dear son,' said the duke, when Lord Monta- 
cute had resumed his seat, 'I see how it is; you 
wish to travel ? ' 

Lord Montacute bent his head, as if in assent. 

'It will be a terrible blow to your mother; I say 
nothing of myself. You know what I feel for you. 
But neither your mother nor myself have a right to 
place our feelings in competition with any arrange- 
ment for your welfare. It would be in the highest 
degree selfish and unreasonable; and perhaps it will 
be well for you to travel awhile; and, as for Parlia- 
ment, I am to see Hungerford this morning at Bella- 



68 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

mont. I will try and arrange with him to postpone 
his resignation until the autumn, or, if possible, for 
some little time longer. You will then have accom- 
plished your purpose. It will do you a great deal of 
good. You will have seen the world, and you can 
take your seat next year.' 

The duke paused. Lord Montacute looked per- 
plexed and distressed; he seemed about to reply, and 
then, leaning on the table, with his face concealed 
from his father, he maintained his silence. The duke 
rose, looked at his watch, said he must be at Bella- 
mont by two o'clock, hoped that Brace would dine 
at the castle to-day, thought it not at all impossible 
Brace might, would send on to Montacute for him, 
perhaps might meet him at Bellamont. Brace under- 
stood the Continent, spoke several languages, Spanish 
among them, though it was not probable his son 
would have any need of that, the present state of 
Spain not being very inviting to the traveller. 

'As for France,' said the duke, 'France is Paris, and 
I suppose that will be your first step; it generally is. 
We must see if your cousin, Henry Howard, is there. 
If so, he will put you in the way of everything. 
With the embassy and Brace, you would manage 
very well at Paris. Then, I suppose, you would like 
to go to Italy; that, I apprehend, is your great point. 
Your mother will not like your going to Rome. Still, 
at the same time, a man, they say, should see Rome 
before he dies. I never did. I have never crossed 
the sea except to go to Ireland. Your grandfather 
would never let me travel; I wanted to, but he never 
would. Not, however, for the same reasons which 
have kept you at home. Suppose you even winter at 
Rome, which I believe is the right thing, why, you 



TANCRED 69 

might very well be back by the spring. However, 
we must manage your mother a little about remain- 
ing over the winter, and, on second thoughts, we 
will get Bernard to go with you, as well as Brace 
and a physician, and then she will be much more 
easy. I think, with Brace, Bernard, and a medical 
man whom we can really trust, Harry Howard at 
Paris, and the best letters for every other place, 
which we will consult Lord Eskdale about, I think 
the danger will not be extreme.' 

' I have no wish to see Paris,' said Lord Montacute, 
evidently embarrassed, and making a great effort to 
relieve his mind of some burthen. ' I have no wish 
to see Paris.' 

'I am very glad to hear that,' said his father, 
eagerly. 

'Nor do I wish either to go to Rome,' continued 
his son. 

' Well, well, you have taken a load off my mind, 
my dear boy. 1 would not confess it, because I wish 
to save you pain; but really, I believe the idea of 
your going to Rome would have been a serious shock 
to your mother. It is not so much the distance, 
though that is great, nor the climate, which has its 
dangers, but, you understand, with her peculiar 

views, her very strict ' The duke did not care 

to finish his sentence. 

'Nor, my dear father,' continued Lord Montacute, 
'though I did not like to interrupt you when you 
were speaking with so much solicitude and consid- 
eration for me, is it exactly travel, in the common 
acceptation of the term, that I feel the need of. I 
wish, indeed, to leave England; I wish to make an 
expedition; a progress to a particular point; without 



70 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

wandering, without any intervening residence. In a 
word, it is the Holy Land that occupies my thought, 
and 1 propose to make a pilgrimage to the sepulchre 
of my Saviour.' 

The duke started, and sank again into his chair. 
'The Holy Land! The Holy Sepulchre!' he exclaimed, 
and repeated to himself, staring at his son. 

'Yes, sir, the Holy Sepulchre,' repeated Lord Mon- 
tacute, and now speaking with his accustomed re- 
pose. 'When 1 remember that the Creator, since 
light sprang out of darkness, has deigned to reveal 
Himself to His creature only in one land, that in that 
land He assumed a manly form, and met a human 
death, 1 feel persuaded that the country sanctified by 
such intercourse and such events must be endowed 
with marvellous and peculiar qualities, which man 
may not in all ages be competent to penetrate, but 
which, nevertheless, at all times exercise an irresisti- 
ble influence upon his destiny. It is these qualities 
that many times drew Europe to Asia during the 
middle centuries. Our castle has before this sent 
forth a De Montacute to Palestine. For three days 
and three nights he knelt at the tomb of his Re- 
deemer. Six centuries and more have elapsed since 
that great enterprise. It is time to restore and reno- 
vate our communications with the Most High. I, 
too, would kneel at that tomb; 1, too, surrounded 
by the holy hills and sacred groves of Jerusalem, 
would relieve my spirit from the bale that bows it 
down; would lift up my voice to heaven, and ask. 
What is duty, and what is faith.? What ought I to 
do, and what ought I to believe.?' 

The Duke of Bellamont rose from his seat, and 
walked up and down the room for some minutes, in 



TANCRED 71 

silence and in deep thought. At length, stopping and 
leaning against the cabinet, he said, 'What has oc- 
curred to-day between us, my beloved child, is, you 
may easily believe, as strange to me as it is agita- 
ting. 1 will think of all you have said; I will try to 
comprehend all you mean and wish. I will endeavour 
to do that which is best and wisest; placing above 
all things your happiness, and not our own. At this 
moment I am not competent to the task: I need 
quiet, and to be alone. Your mother, I know, wishes 
to walk with you this morning. She may be speak- 
ing to you of many things. Be silent upon this sub- 
ject, until 1 have communicated with her. At present 
I will ride over to Bellamont. I must go; and, be- 
sides, it will do me good. 1 never can think very 
well except in the saddle. If Brace comes, make him 
dine here. God bless you.' 

The duke left the room; his son remained in med- 
itation. The first step was taken. He had poured 
into the interview of an hour the results of three 
years of solitary thought. A sound roused him; it 
was his mother. She had only learnt casually that 
the duke was gone; she was surprised he had not 
come into her room before he went; it seemed the 
first time since their marriage that the duke had gone 
out without first coming to speak to her. So she 
went to seek her son, to congratulate him on being 
a member of Parliament, on representing the county 
of which they were so fond, and of breaking to him 
a proposition which she doubted not he would find 
not less interesting and charming. Happy mother, 
with her only son, on whom she doted and of whom 
she was so justly proud, about to enter public life in 
which he was sure to distinguish himself, and to 

15 B. D. — iS 



72 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

marry a woman who was sure to make him happy! 
With a bounding heart the duchess opened the library 
door, where she had been informed she should find 
Lord Montacute. She had her bonnet on, ready for 
the walk of confidence, and, her face flushed with 
delight, she looked even beautiful. *Ah!' she ex- 
claimed, 'I have been looking for you, Tancred!' 





CHAPTER VIII. 
The Decision. 

HE duke returned rather late from 
Bellamont, and went immediately to 
his dressing-room. A few minutes 
before dinner the duchess knocked 
at his door and entered. She 
seemed disconcerted, and reminded 
him, though with great gentleness, that he had gone 
out to-day without first bidding her adieu; she really 
believed it was the only time he had done so since 
their marriage. The duke, who, when she entered, 
anticipated something about their son, was relieved 
by her remark, embraced her, and would have af- 
fected a gaiety which he did not really feel. 

' I am glad to hear that Brace dines here to-day, 
Kate, for 1 particularly wanted to see him.' 

The duchess did not reply, and seemed absent; 
the duke, to say something, tying his cravat, kept 
harping upon Brace. 

'Never mind Brace, George,' said the duchess; 
'tell me what is this about Tancred ? Why is his 
coming into Parliament put off?' 

The duke was perplexed; he wished to know how 
far at this moment his wife was informed upon the 
matter; the feminine frankness of the duchess put him 

(73) 



74 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

out of suspense. ' I have been walking with Tan- 
cred,' she continued, 'and intimated, but with great 
caution, all our plans and hopes. I asked him what 
he thought of his cousin; he agrees with us she is 
by far the most charming girl he knows, and one of 
the most agreeable. I impressed upon him how good 
she was. I wished to precipitate nothing. I never 
dreamed of their marrying until late in the autumn. 
I wished him to become acquainted with his new 
life, which would not prevent him seeing a great 
deal of Katherine in London, and then to visit them 
in Ireland, as you visited us, George; and then, when 
I was settling everything in the most delightful man- 
ner, what he was to do when he was kept up very 
late at the House, which is the only part 1 don't like, 
and begging him to be very strict in making his 
servant always have coffee ready for him, very hot, 
and a cold fowl too, or something of the sort, he 
tells me, to my infinite astonishment, that the vacancy 
will not immediately occur, that he is not sorry for it, 
as he thinks it may be as well that he should go 
abroad. What can all this mean? Pray tell me; for 
Tancred has told me nothing, and, when I pressed 
him, waived the subject, and said we would all of us 
consult together,' 

'And so we will, Kate,' said the duke, 'but 
hardly at this moment, for dinner must be almost 
served. To be brief,' he added, speaking in a light 
tone, 'there are reasons which perhaps may make it 
expedient that Hungerford should not resign at the 
present moment; and as Tancred has a fancy to travel 
n little, it may be as v/ell that we should take it into 
consideration whether he might not profitably occupy 
the interval in this manner.' 



TANCRED 75 

' Profitably! ' said the duchess. ' I never can under- 
stand how going to Paris and Rome, which young 
men always mean when they talk of travelling, can be 
profitable to him; it is the very thing which, all my 
life, I have been endeavouring to prevent. His body 
and his soul will be both imperilled; Paris will de- 
stroy his constitution, and Rome, perhaps, change 
his faith.' 

' I have more confidence in his physical power and 
his religious principle than you, Kate,' said the duke, 
smiling. 'But make yourself easy on these heads; 
Tancred told me this morning that he had no wish 
to visit either Rome or Paris.' 

'Well!' exclaimed the duchess, somewhat relieved, 
'if he wants to make a little tour in Holland, I think 
1 could bear it; it is a Protestant country, and there 
are no vermin. And then those dear Disbrowes, I am 
sure, would take care of him at The Hague.' 

'We will talk of all this to-night, my love,' said 
the duke; and offering his arm to his wife, who was 
more composed, if not more cheerful, they descended 
to their guests. 

Colonel Brace was there, to the duke's great satis- 
faction. The colonel had served as a cornet in a 
dragoon regiment in the last campaign of the Penin- 
sular war, and had marched into Paris. Such an 
event makes an indelible impression on the memory 
of a handsome lad of seventeen, and the colonel had 
not yet finished recounting his strange and fortunate 
adventures. 

He was tall, robust, a little portly, but, well 
buckled, still presented a grand military figure. He 
was what you call a fine man; florid, with still a 
good head of hair though touched with grey, splen- 



76 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

did moustaches, large fat hands, and a courtly de- 
meanour not unmixed with a slight swagger. The 
colonel was a Montacute man, and had inherited a 
large house in the town and a small estate in the 
neighbourhood. Having sold out, he had retired to 
his native place, where he had become a considerable 
personage. The duke had put him in the commis- 
sion, and he was the active magistrate of the district; 
he had reorganised the Bellamont regiment of yeo- 
manry cavalry, which had fallen into sad decay during 
the late duke's time, but which now, with Brace for 
its lieutenant-colonel, was second to none in the king- 
dom. Colonel Brace was one of the best shots in the 
county; certainly the boldest rider among the heavy 
weights; and bore the palm from all with the rod, 
in a county fiimous for its feats in lake and river. 

The colonel was a man of great energy, of good 
temper, of ready resource, frank, a little coarse, but 
hearty and honest. He adored the Duke and Duchess 
of Bellamont. He was sincere; he was not a para- 
site; he really believed that they were the best peo- 
ple in the world, and I am not sure that he had 
not some foundation for his faith. On the whole, 
he might be esteemed the duke's right-hand man. 
His Grace generally consulted the colonel on county 
affairs; the command of the yeomanry alone gave him 
a considerable position; he was the chief also of the 
militia staff; could give his opinion whether a person 
was to be made a magistrate or not; and had even 
been called into council when there was a question 
of appointing a deputy-lieutenant. The colonel, who 
was a leading member of the corporation of Monta- 
cute, had taken care to be chosen mayor this year; 
he had been also chairman of the Committee of Man- 



TANCRED 77 

agement during the celebration of Tancred's majority; 
had had the entire ordering of the fireworks, and was 
generally supposed to have given the design, or at 
least the leading idea, for the transparency. 

We should notice also Mr. Bernard, a clergyman, 
and recently the private tutor of Lord Montacute, a 
good scholar; in ecclesiastical opinions, what is called 
high and dry. He was about five-and-thirty; well- 
looking, bashful. The duke intended to prefer him to 
a living when one was vacant; in the meantime he 
remained in the family, and at present discharged the 
duties of chaplain and librarian at Montacute, and oc- 
casionally assisted the duke as private secretary. Of 
his life, one third had been passed at a rural home, 
and the rest might be nearly divided between school 
and college. 

These gentlemen, the distinguished and numerous 
family of the Montacute Mountjoys, young Hunger- 
ford, whom the duke had good-naturedly brought 
over from Bellamont for the sake of the young ladies, 
the duke and duchess, and their son, formed the party, 
which presented rather a contrast, not only in its 
numbers, to the series of recent banquets. They dined 
in the Montacute chamber. The party, without in- 
tending it, was rather dull and silent. The duchess 
was brooding over the disappointment of the morn- 
ing; the duke trembled for the disclosures of the mor- 
row. The Misses Mountjoy sang better than they 
talked; their mother, who was more lively, was seated 
by the duke, and confined her powers of pleasing to 
him. The Honourable and Reverend Montacute him- 
self was an epicure, and disliked conversation during 
dinner. Lord Montacute spoke to Mr. Hungerford 
across the table, but Mr. Hungerford was whispering 



78 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

despairing nothings in the ear of Arabella Mountjoy, 
and replied to his question without originating any in 
return, which of course terminates talk. 

When the second course had arrived, the duke, 
who wanted a little more noise and distraction, fired 
off in despair a shot at Colonel Brace, who was on 
the left hand of the duchess, and set him on his 
yeomanry charger. From this moment affairs im- 
proved. The colonel made continual charges, and 
carried all before him. Nothing could be more noisy 
in a genteel way. His voice sounded like the bray 
of a trumpet amid the din of arms; it seemed that the 
moment he began, everybody and everything became 
animated and inspired by his example. All talked; 
the duke set them the fashion of taking wine with 
each other; Lord Montacute managed to entrap Ar- 
minta Mountjoy into a narrative in detail of her morn- 
ing's ride and adventures; and, affecting scepticism as 
to some of the incidents, and wonder at some of the 
feats, produced a considerable addition to the general 
hubbub, which he instinctively felt that his father 
wished to encourage. 

'I don't know whether it was the Great Western 
or the South Eastern,' continued Colonel Brace; 'but 
I know his leg is broken.' 

'God bless me!' said the duke; 'and only think of 
my not hearing of it at Bellamont to-day!' 

'I don't suppose they know anything about it,' 
replied the colonel. 'The way I know it is this: I 
was with Roby to-day, when the post came in, and 
he said to me, "Here is a letter from Lady Malpas; 
I hope nothing is the matter with Sir Russell or any 
of the children," And then it all came out. The 
train was blown up behind; Sir Russell was in a 



TANCRED 79 

centre carriage, and was pitched right into a field. 
They took him into an inn, put him to bed, and sent 
for some of the top-sawyers from London, Sir Ben- 
jamin Brodie, and that sort of thing; and the moment 
Sir Russell came to himself, he said, "I must have 
Roby, send for Roby, Roby knows my constitution." 
And they sent for Roby. And I think he was right. 
The quantity of young officers I have seen sent right- 
about in the Peninsula, because they were attended 
by a parcel of men who knew nothing of their con- 
stitution! Why, I might have lost my own leg once, 
if 1 had not been sharp. I got a scratch in a little 
affair at Almeidas, charging the enemy a little too 
briskly; but we really ought not to speak of these 
things before the ladies ' 

'My dear colonel,' said Lord Montacute, 'on the 
contrary, there is nothing more interesting to them. 
Miss Mountjoy was saying only yesterday, that there 
was nothing she found so difficult to understand as 
the account of a battle, and how much she wished to 
comprehend it.' 

'That is because, in general, they are not written 
by soldiers,' said the colonel; 'but Napier's battles are 
very clear. I could fight every one of them on this 
table. That's a great book, that history of Napier; it 
has faults, but they are rather omissions than mis- 
takes. Now that affair of Almeidas of which I was 
just speaking, and which nearly cost me my leg, it 
is very odd, but he has omitted mentioning it alto- 
gether.' 

'But you saved your leg, colonel,' said the duke. 

'Yes, I had the honour of marching into Paris, and 
that is an event not very easy to be forgotten, let me 
tell your Grace. I saved my leg because I knew my 



8o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

constitution. For the very same reason by which I 
hope Sir Russell Malpas will save his leg. Because 
he will be attended by a person who knows his con- 
stitution. He never did a wiser thing than sending 
for Roby. For my part, if I were in garrison at 
Gibraltar to-morrow, and laid up, I would do the 
same; I would send for Roby. In all these things, 
depend upon it, knowing the constitution is half the 
battle.' 

All this time, while Colonel Brace was indulging 
in his garrulous comments, the Duke of Bellamont 
was drav/ing his moral. He had a great opinion of 
Mr. Roby, who was the medical attendant of the 
castle, and an able man. Mr. Roby was perfectly ac- 
quainted with the constitution of his son; Mr. Roby 
must go to the Holy Sepulchre. Cost what it might, 
Mr. Roby must be sent to Jerusalem. The duke was 
calculating all this time the income that Mr. Roby 
made. He would not put it down at more than five 
hundred pounds per annum, and a third of that was 
certainly afforded by the castle. The duke determined 
to offer Roby a thousand and his expenses to attend 
Lord Montacute. He would not be more than a year 
absent, and his practice could hardly seriously suffer 
while away, backed as he would be, when he re- 
turned, by the castle. And if it did, the duke must 
guarantee Roby against loss; it was a necessity, ab- 
solute and of the first class, that Tancred should be 
attended by a medical man who knew his constitu- 
tion. The duke agreed with Colonel Brace that it 
was half the battle. 




CHAPTER IX. 

Tancred, the New Crusader. 

ISERABLE mother that I am!' ex- 
claimed the duchess, and she clasped 
her hands in anguish. 

'My dearest Katherine! ' said the 
duke, ' calm yourself.' 

' You ought to have prevented 
this, George; you ought never to have let things come 
to this pass.' 

' But, my dearest Katherine, the blow was as un- 
looked-for by me as by yourself. I had not, how 
could I have, a remote suspicion of what was passing 
through his mind.?' 

' What, then, is the use of your boasted confidence 
with your child, which you tell me you have always 
cultivated ? Had I been his father, I would have dis- 
covered his secret thoughts.' 

'Very possibly, my dear Katherine; but you are 
at least his mother, tenderly loving him, and tenderly 
loved by him. The intercourse between you has ever 
been of an extreme intimacy, and especially on the 
subjects connected with this fancy of his, and yet, 
you see, even you are completely taken by surprise.' 
' I once had a suspicion he was inclined to the 
Puseyite heresy, and I spoke to Mr. Bernard on the 

(8i) 



82 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

subject, and afterwards to him, but I was convinced 
that I was in error. I am sure,' added the duchess, 
in a mournful tone, ' I have lost no opportunity of 
instilling into him the principles of religious truth. It 
was only last year, on his birthday, that I sent him a 
complete set of the publications of the Parker Society, 
my own copy of Jewel, full of notes, and my grand- 
father, the primate's, manuscript commentary on 
Chillingworth; a copy made purposely by myself.' 

'1 well know,' said the duke, 'that you have done 
everything for his spiritual welfare which ability and 
affection combined could suggest.' 

'And it ends in this!' exclaimed the duchess. 
'The Holy Land! Why, if he even reach it, the 
climate is certain death. The curse of the Almighty, 
for more than eighteen centuries, has been on that 
land. Every year it has become more sterile, more 
savage, more unwholesome, and more unearthly. It 
is the abomination of desolation. And now my son 
is to go there! Oh! he is lost to us for ever!' 

'But, my dear Katherine, let us consult a little.' 
'Consult! Why should I consult? You have set- 
tled everything, you have agreed to everything. You 
do not come here to consult me; I understand all 
that; you come here to break a foregone conclusion 
to a weak and miserable woman.' 

'Do not say such things, Katherine!' 
'What should I say? What can I say?' 
'Anything but that. I hope that nothing will be 
ever done in this family without your full sanction.' 
' Rest assured, then, that I will never sanction the 
departure of Tancred on this crusade.' 

'Then he will never go, at least, with my con- 
sent,' said the duke; 'but Katherine, assist me, my 



TANCRED 83 

dear wife. All shall be, shall ever be, as you wish; 
but 1 shrink from being placed, from our being 
placed, in collision with our child. The mere exer- 
cise of parental authority is a last resource; I would 
appeal first, rather to his reason, to his heart; your ar- 
guments, his affection for us, may yet influence him.' 

'You tell me you have argued with him,' said the 
duchess in a melancholy tone. 

' Yes, but you know so much more on these sub- 
jects than I do, indeed, upon all subjects; you are so 
clever, that 1 do not despair, my dear Katherine, of 
your producing an impression on him.' 

'I would tell him at once,' said the duchess, firmly, 
'that the proposition cannot be listened to.' 

The duke looked very distressed. After a mo- 
mentary pause, he said, ' If, indeed, you think that 
the best; but let us consult before we take that step, 
because it would seem to terminate all discussion, 
and discussion may yet do good. Besides, I cannot 
conceal from myself that Tancred in this affair is 
acting under the influence of very powerful motives; 
his feelings are highly strung; you have no idea, you 
can have no idea from what we have seen of him 
hitherto, how excited he is. I had no idea of his 
being capable of such excitement. I always thought 
him so very calm, and of such a quiet turn. And so, 
in short, my dear Katherine, were we to be abrupt 
at this moment, peremptory, you understand, I — I 
should not be surprised, were Tancred to go without 
our permission.' 

'Impossible!' exclaimed the duchess, starting in 
her chair, but with as much consternation as confi- 
dence in her countenance. 'Throughout his life he 
has never disobeved us.' 



84 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'And that is an additional reason,' said the duke, 
quietly, but in his sweetest tone, 'why we should 
not treat as a light ebullition this first instance of his 
preferring his own will to that of his father and 
mother.' 

' He has been so much away from us these last 
three years,' said the duchess in a tone of great de- 
pression, 'and they are such important years in the 
formation of character! But Mr. Bernard, he ought 
to have been aware of all this; he ought to have 
known what was passing through his pupil's mind; 
he ought to have warned us. Let us speak to him; 
let us speak to him at once. Ring, my dear George, 
and request the attendance of Mr. Bernard.' 

That gentleman, who was in the library, kept 
them waiting but a few minutes. As he entered the 
room, he perceived, by the countenances of his noble 
patrons, that something remarkable, and probably not 
agreeable, had occurred. The duke opened the case 
to Mr. Bernard with calmness; he gave an outline of 
the great catastrophe; the duchess filled up the parts, 
and invested the whole with a rich and even terrible 
colouring. 

Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the late 
private tutor of Lord Montacute. He was fairly over- 
come; the communication itself was startling, the ac- 
cessories overwhelmed him. The unspoken reproaches 
that beamed from the duke's mild eye; the withering 
glance of maternal desolation that met him from the 
duchess; the rapidity of her anxious and agitated 
questions; all were too much for the simple, though 
correct, mind of one unused to those passionate de- 
velopments which are commonly called scenes. All 
that Mr. Bernard for some time could do was to sit 



TANCRED 85 

with his eyes staring and mouth open, and re- 
peat, with a bewildered air, 'The Holy Land, the 
Holy Sepulchre!' No, most certainly not; most as- 
suredly; never in any way, by any word or deed, 
had Lord Montacute ever given him reason to sup- 
pose or imagine that his lordship intended to make a 
pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, or that he was in- 
fluenced by any of those views and opinions which 
he had so strangely and so uncompromisingly ex- 
pressed to his father. 

'But, Mr. Bernard, you have been his companion, 
his instructor, for many years,' continued the duchess, 
'for the last three years especially, years so important 
in the formation of character. You have seen much 
more of Montacute than we have. Surely you must 
have had some idea of what was passing in his mind; 
you could not help knowing it; you ought to have 
known it; you ought to have warned, to have pre- 
pared us.' 

'Madam,' at length said Mr. Bernard, more col- 
lected, and feeling the necessity and excitement of 
self-vindication, 'Madam, your noble son, under my 
poor tuition, has taken the highest honours of his 
university; his moral behaviour during that period has 
been immaculate; and as for his religious sentiments, 
even this strange scheme proves that they are, at any 
rate, of no light and equivocal character.' 

'To lose such a son!' exclaimed the duchess, in a 
tone of anguish, and with streaming eyes. 

The duke took her hand, and would have soothed 
her; and then, turning to Mr. Bernard, he said, in a 
lowered tone, ' We are very sensible how much we 
owe you; the duchess equally with myself. All we 
regret is, that some of us had not obtained a more 



86 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

intimate acquaintance with the character of my son 
than it appears we have acquired.' 

'My lord duke,' said Mr. Bernard, 'had yourself 
or her Grace ever spoken to me on this subject, I 
would have taken the liberty of expressing what I 
say now. I have ever found Lord Montacute inscru- 
table. He has formed himself in solitude, and has 
ever repelled any advance to intimacy, either from 
those who were his inferiors or his equals in station. 
He has never had a companion. As for myself, dur- 
ing the ten years that I have had the honour of be- 
ing connected with him, I cannot recall a word or a 
deed on his part which towards me has not been 
courteous and considerate; but as a child he was shy 
and silent, and as a man, for I have looked upon 
him as a man in mind for these four or even five 
years, he has employed me as his machine to obtain 
knowledge. It is not very flattering to oneself to 
make these confessions, but at Oxford he had the 
opportunity of communicating with some of the most 
eminent men of our time, and I have always learnt 
from them the same result. Lord Montacute never 
disburthened. His passion for study has been ardent; 
his power of application is very great; his attention 
unwearied as long as there is anything to acquire; 
but he never seeks your opinions, and never offers 
his own. The interview of yesterday with your 
Grace is the only exception with which I am ac- 
quainted, and at length throws some light on the 
mysteries of his mind.' 

The duke looked sad; his wife seemed plunged in 
profound thought; there was a silence of many mo- 
ments. At length the duchess looked up, and said, 
in a calmer tone, and with an air of great serious- 



TANCRED 87 

ness, ' It seems that we have mistaken the character 
of our son. Thank you very much for coming to us 
so quickly in our trouble, Mr. Bernard. It was very 
kind, as you always are.' Mr. Bernard took the hint, 
rose, bowed, and retired. 

The moment that he had quitted the room, the 
eyes of the Duke and Duchess of Bellamont met. Who 
was to speak first? The duke had nothing to say, 
and therefore he had the advantage: the duchess 
wished her husband to break the silence, but, having 
something to say herself, she could not refrain from 
interrupting it. So she said, with a tearful eye, 
'Well, George, what do you think we ought to do.?' 

The duke had a great mind to propose his plan of 
sending Tancred to Jerusalem, with Colonel Brace, 
Mr. Bernard, and Mr. Roby, to take care of him, but 
he hardly thought the occasion was ripe enough for 
that; and so he suggested that the duchess should 
speak to Tancred herself. 

'No,' said her Grace, shaking her head, 'I think it 
better for me to be silent; at least at present. It is 
necessary, however, that the most energetic means 
should be adopted to save him, nor is there a mo- 
ment to be lost. We must shrink from nothing for 
such an object. I have a plan. We will put the 
whole matter in the hands of our friend, the bishop. 
We will get him to speak to Tancred. I entertain 
not a doubt that the bishop will put his mind all 
right; clear all his doubts; remove all his scruples. 
The bishop is the only person, because, you see, it is 
a case political as well as theological, and the bishop 
is a great statesman as well as the first theologian of 
the age. Depend upon it, my dear George, that this 
is the wisest course, and, with the blessing of Provi- 



88 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



dence, will eflfect our purpose. It is, perhaps, asking 
a good deal of the bishop, considering his important 
and multifarious duties, to undertake this office, but 
we must not be delicate when everything is at stake; 
and, considering he christened and confirmed Tancred, 
and our long friendship, it is quite out of the question 
that he can refuse. However, there is no time to be 
lost. We must get to town as soon as possible; to- 
morrow, if we can. I shall advance affairs by writ- 
ing to the bishop on the subject, and giving him an 
outhne of the case, so that he may be prepared to 
see Tancred at once on our arrival. What think you, 
George, of my plan?' 

*I think it quite admirable,' replied his Grace, only 
too happy that there was at least the prospect of a 
lull of a few days in this great embarrassment. 





CHAPTER X. 

A Visionary. 

BOUT the time of the marriage of 
the Duchess of Bellamont, her noble 
family, and a few of their friends, 
some of whom also believed in 
the millennium, were persuaded 
that the conversion of the Roman 
Catholic population of Ireland to the true faith, 
which was their own, was at hand. They had sub- 
scribed very liberally for the purpose, and formed an 
amazing number of sub-committees. As long as their 
funds lasted, their missionaries found proselytes. It 
was the last desperate effort of a Church that had 
from the first betrayed its trust. Twenty years ago, 
statistics not being so much in vogue, and the people 
of England being in the full efflorescence of that pub- 
lic ignorance which permitted them to believe them- 
selves the most enlightened nation in the world, the 
Irish ' difficulty ' was not quite so well understood as 
at the present day. It was then an established doc- 
trine, and all that was necessary for Ireland was more 
Protestantism, and it was supposed to be not more 
difficult to supply the Irish with Protestantism than it 
had proved, in the instance of a recent famine, 1822, 

(89) 



90 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

to furnish them with potatoes. What was principally 
wanted in both cases were subscriptions. 

When the English public, therefore, were assured 
by their co-religionists on the other side of St. George's 
Channel, that at last the good work was doing; that 
the flame spread, even rapidly; that not only parishes 
but provinces were all agog, and that both town and 
country were quite in a heat of proselytism, they be- 
gan to believe that at last the scarlet lady was about 
to be dethroned; they loosened their purse-strings; 
fathers of families contributed their zealous five pounds, 
followed by every other member of the household, to 
the babe in arms, who subscribed its fanatical five 
shillings. The affair looked well. The journals teemed 
with lists of proselytes and cases of conversion; and 
even orderly, orthodox people, who were firm in 
their own faith, but wished others to be permitted to 
pursue their errors in peace, began to congratulate 
each other on the prospect of our at last becoming a 
united Protestant people. 

In the blaze and thick of the affair, Irish Protes- 
tants jubilant, Irish Papists denouncing the whole 
movement as fraud and trumpery, John Bull per- 
plexed, but excited, and still subscribing, a young 
bishop rose in his place in the House of Lords, and, 
with a vehemence there unusual, declared that he 
saw 'the finger of God in this second Reformation,' 
and, pursuing the prophetic vein and manner, de- 
nounced 'woe to those who should presume to lift 
up their hands and voices in vain and impotent at- 
tempts to stem the flood of light that was bursting 
over Ireland.' 

In him, who thus plainly discerned 'the finger of 
God' in transactions in which her family and feel- 



TANCRED 91 

ings were so deeply interested, the young and en- 
thusiastic Duchess of Bellamont instantly recognised 
the 'man of God;' and from that moment the right 
reverend prelate became, in all spiritual affairs, her 
infaUible instructor, although the impending second 
Reformation did chance to take the untoward form of 
the emancipation of the Roman Catholics, followed in 
due season by the destruction of Protestant bishoprics, 
the sequestration of Protestant tithes, and the endow- 
ment of Maynooth. 

In speculating on the fate of public institutions and 
the course of public affairs, it is important that we should 
not permit our attention to be engrossed by the prin- 
ciples on which they are founded and the circum- 
stances which they present, but that we should also 
remember how much depends upon the character of 
the individuals who are in the position to superintend 
or to direct them. 

The Church of England, mainly from its deficiency 
of oriental knowledge, and from a misconception of 
the priestly character which has been the conse- 
quence of that want, has fallen of late years into 
great straits; nor has there ever been a season when 
it has more needed for its guides men possessing the 
higher qualities both of intellect and disposition. 
About five-and-twenty years ago, it began to be dis- 
cerned that the time had gone by, at least in Eng- 
land, for bishoprics to serve as appanages for the 
younger sons of great families. The Arch-Mediocrity 
who then governed this country, and the mean tenor 
of whose prolonged administration we have delineated 
in another work, was impressed with the necessity 
of reconstructing the episcopal bench on principles of 
personal distinction and ability. But his notion of 



92 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

clerical capacity did not soar higher than a private 
tutor who had suckled a young noble into university 
honours; and his test of priestly celebrity was the 
decent editorship of a Greek play. He sought for the 
successors of the apostles, for the stewards of the 
mysteries of Sinai and of Calvary, among third-rate 
hunters after syllables. 

These men, notwithstanding their elevation, with 
one exception, subsided into their native insignifi- 
cance; and during our agitated age, when the prin- 
ciples of all institutions, sacred and secular, have 
been called in question; when, alike in the senate 
and the market-place, both the doctrine and the 
discipline of the Church have been impugned, its 
power assailed, its authority denied, the amount of 
its revenues investigated, their disposition criticised, 
and both attacked; not a voice has been raised by 
these mitred nullities, either to warn or to vindicate; 
not a phrase has escaped their lips or their pens, that 
ever influenced public opinion, touched the heart of 
nations, or guided the conscience of a perplexed peo- 
ple. If they were ever heard of it was that they had 
been pelted in a riot. 

The exception which we have mentioned to their 
sorry careers was that of the too adventurous prophet 
of the second Reformation; the ductor duhitantium 
appealed to by the Duchess of Bellamont, to con- 
vince her son that the principles of religious truth, 
as well as of political justice, required no further in- 
vestigation; at least by young marquesses. 

The ready audacity with which this right reverend 
prelate had stood sponsor for the second Reformation 
is a key to his character. He combined a great 
talent for action with very limited powers of thought. 



TANCRED 93 

Bustling, energetic, versatile, gifted with an indom- 
itable perseverance, and stimulated by an ambition 
that knew no repose, with a capacity for mastering 
details and an inordinate passion for affairs, he could 
permit nothing to be done without his interference, 
and consequently was perpetually involved in trans- 
actions which were either failures or blunders. He 
was one of those leaders who are not guides. Hav- 
ing little real knowledge, and not endowed with 
those high qualities of intellect which permit their 
possessor to generalise the details afforded by study 
and experience, and so deduce rules of conduct, his 
lordship, when he received those frequent appeals 
which were the necessary consequence of his officious 
life, became obscure, confused, contradictory, incon- 
sistent, illogical. The oracle was always dark. 

Placed in a high post in an age of political analy- 
sis, the bustling intermeddler was unable to supply 
society with a single solution. Enunciating second- 
hand, with characteristic precipitation, some big 
principle in vogue, as if he were a discoverer, he in- 
variably shrank from its subsequent application the 
moment that he found it might be unpopular and 
inconvenient. All his quandaries terminated in the 
same catastrophe; a compromise. Abstract principles 
with him ever ended in concrete expediency. The 
aggregate of circumstances outweighed the isolated 
cause. The primordial tenet, which had been advo- 
cated with uncompromising arrogance, gently sub- 
sided into some second-rate measure recommended 
with all the artifice of an impenetrable ambiguity. 

Beginning with the second Reformation, which 
was a little rash but dashing, the bishop, always 
ready, had in the course of his episcopal career placed 



94 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

himself at the head of every movement in the Church 
which others had originated, and had as regularly 
withdrawn at the right moment, when the heat was 
over, or had become, on the contrary, excessive. 
Furiously evangelical, soberly high and dry, and fer- 
vently Puseyite, each phasis of his faith concludes 
with what the Spaniards term a 'transaction.' The 
saints are to have their new churches, but they are 
also to have their rubrics and their canons; the uni- 
versities may supply successors to the apostles, but 
they are also presented with a church commission; 
even the Puseyites may have candles on their altars, 
but they must not be lighted. 

It will be seen, therefore, that his lordship was 
one of those characters not ill-adapted to an eminent 
station in an age like the present, and in a country 
like our own; an age of movement, but of confused 
ideas; a country of progress, but too rich to risk 
much change. Under these circumstances, the spirit 
of a period and a people seeks a safety-valve in bus- 
tle. They do something, lest it be said that they do 
nothing. At such a time, ministers recommend their 
measures as experiments, and parliaments are ever 
ready to rescind their votes. Find a man who, totally 
destitute of genius, possesses nevertheless considerable 
talents; who has official aptitude, a volubility of rou- 
tine rhetoric, great perseverance, a love of affairs; 
who, embarrassed neither by the principles of the 
philosopher nor by the prejudices of the bigot, can 
assume, with a cautious facility, the prevalent tone, 
and disembarrass himself of it, with a dexterous am- 
biguity, the moment it ceases to be predominant; 
recommending himself to the innovator by his ap- 
probation of change 'in the abstract,' and to the con- 



TANCRED 



95 



servative by his prudential and practical respect for 
that which is established; such a man, though he be 
one of an essentially small mind, though his intel- 
lectual qualities be less than moderate, with feeble 
powers of thought, no imagination, contracted sym- 
pathies, and a most loose public morality; such a 
man is the individual whom kings and parliaments 
would select to govern the State or rule the Church. 
Change, 'in the abstract,' is what is wanted by a 
people who are at the same time inquiring and 
wealthy. Instead of statesmen they desire shufflers; 
and compromise in conduct and ambiguity in speech 
are, though nobody will confess it, the public qualities 
now most in vogue. 

Not exactly, however, those calculated to meet the 
case of Tancred. The interview was long, for Tan- 
cred listened with apparent respect and deference to 
the individual under whose auspices he had entered 
the Church of Christ; but the replies to his inquiries, 
though more adroit than the duke's, were in reality 
not more satisfactory, and could not, in any way, 
meet the inexorable logic of Lord Montacute. The 
bishop was as little able as the duke to indicate the 
principle on which the present order of things in 
England was founded; neither faith nor its conse- 
quence, duty, was at all illustrated or invigorated by 
his handling. He utterly failed in reconciling a belief 
in ecclesiastical truth with the support of religious 
dissent. When he tried to define in whom the 
power of government should repose, he was lost in 
a maze of phrases, and afforded his pupil not a single 
fact. 

Mt cannot be denied,' at length said Tancred, with 
great calmness, 'that society was once regulated by 



96 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

God, and that now it is regulated by man. For my 
part, I prefer divine to self-government, and I wish to 
know how it is to be attained.' 

'The Church represents God upon earth,' said the 
bishop. 

'But the Church no longer governs man,' replied 
Tancred. 

'There is a great spirit rising in the Church,' ob- 
served the bishop, with thoughtful solemnity; 'a great 
and excellent spirit. The Church of 1845 is not the 
Church of 1745. We must remember that; we know 
not what may happen. We shall soon see a bishop 
at Manchester.' 

'But I want to see an angel at Manchester.' 

'An angel!' 

'Why not? Why should there not be heavenly 
messengers, when heavenly messages are most 
wanted?' 

'We have received a heavenly message by one 
greater than the angels,' said the bishop. 'Their 
visits to man ceased with the mightier advent.' 

* Then why did angels appear to Mary and her 
companions at the holy tomb?' inquired Tancred. 

The interview from which so much was anticipated 
was not satisfactory. The eminent prelate did not 
realise Tancred's ideal of a bishop, while his lordship 
did not hesitate to declare that Lord Montacute was 
a visionary. 





CHAPTER XI. 

Advice from a Man of the World. 

HEN the duchess found that the in- 
terview with the bishop had been 
fruitless of the anticipated results, 
she was staggered, disheartened; 
but she was a woman of too high 
a spirit to succumb under a first 
defeat. She was of opinion that his lordship had 
misunderstood the case, or had mismanaged it; her 
confidence in him, too, was not so illimitable since 
he had permitted the Puseyites to have candles on 
their altars, although he had forbidden their being 
lighted, as when he had declared, twenty years be- 
fore, that the finger of God was about to protestantise 
Ireland. His lordship had said and had done many 
things since that time which had occasioned the 
duchess many misgivings, although she had chosen 
that they should not occur to her recollection until 
he fiiiled in convincing her son that religious truth 
was to be found in the parish of St. James, and 
political justice in the happy haunts of Montacute 
Forest. 

The bishop had voted for the Church Temporalities' 
Bill in 1833, which at one swoop had suppressed ten 

(97) 



98 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Irish episcopates. This was a queer suffrage for the 
apostle of the second Reformation. True it is that 
Whiggism was then in the ascendant, and two years 
afterwards, when Whiggism had received a heavy 
blow and great discouragement; when we had been 
blessed in the interval with a decided though feeble 
Conservative administration, and were blessed at the 
moment with a strong though undecided Conservative 
opposition; his lordship, with characteristic activity, 
had galloped across country into the right line 
again, denounced the Appropriation Clause in a spirit 
worthy of his earlier days, and, quite forgetting the 
ten Irish bishoprics, that only four-and-twenty months 
before he had doomed to destruction, was all for 
proselytising Ireland again by the efficacious means of 
Irish Protestant bishops. 

'The bishop says that Tancred is a visionary,' said 
the duchess to her husband, with an air of great dis- 
pleasure. 'Why, it is because he is a visionary that 
we sent him to the bishop. I want to have his false 
imaginings removed by one who has the competent 
powers of learning and argument, and the authority 
of a high and holy office. A visionary, indeed! Why, 
so are the Puseyites; they are visionaries, and his 
lordship has been obliged to deal with them; though, 
to be sure, if he spoke to Tancred in a similar fashion, 
I am not surprised that my son has returned un- 
changed! This is the most vexatious business that ever 
occurred to us. Something must be done; but what 
to fix on ? What do you think, George ? Since 
speaking to the bishop, of which you so much ap- 
proved, has failed, what do you recommend?' 

While the duchess was speaking, she was seated 
in her boudoir, looking into the Green Park; the 



TANCRED 99 

duke's horses were in the courtyard, and he was 
about to ride down to the House of Lords; he had 
just looked in, as was his custom, to say farewell till 
they met again. 

'1 am sorry that the interview with the bishop 
has failed,' said the duke, in a hesitating tone, and 
playing with his riding-stick; and then walking up to 
the window and looking into the Park, he said, ap- 
parently after reflection, ' I always think the best per- 
son to deal with a visionary is a man of the world.' 

' But what can men of the world know of such 
questions?' said the duchess, mournfully, 

'Very little,' said her husband, 'and therefore they 
are never betrayed into arguments, which I fancy al- 
ways make people more obstinate, even if they are 
confuted. Men of the world have a knack of settling 
everything without discussion; they do it by tact. 
It is astonishing how many difficulties I have seen 
removed — by Eskdale, for example — which it seemed 
that no power on earth could change, and about 
which we had been arguing for months. There was 
the Cheadle churches case, for example; it broke up 
some of the oldest friendships in the county; even 
Hungerford and llderton did not speak. I never had 
a more anxious time of it; and, as far as I was per- 
sonally concerned, I would have made any sacrifice 
to keep a good understanding in the county. At last 
I got the business referred to Eskdale, and the 
affair was ultimately arranged to everybody's satisfac- 
tion. I don't know how he managed: it was quite 
impossible that he could have offered any new argu- 
ments, but he did it by tact. Tact does not re- 
move difficulties, but difficulties melt away under 
tact.' 



loo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Heigho!' sighed the duchess. 'I cannot under- 
stand how tact can tell us what is religious truth, or 
prevent my son from going to the Holy Sepulchre.' 

'Try,* said the duke. 

'Shall you see our cousin to-day, George?' 

'He is sure to be at the House,' replied the duke, 
eagerly. 'I tell you what I propose, Kate: Tancred 
is gone to the House of Commons to hear the debate 
on Maynooth; I will try and get our cousin to come 
home and dine with us, and then we can talk over 
the whole affair at once. What say you?' 

'Very well.' 

'We have failed with a bishop; we will now try 
a man of the world; and if we are to have a man of 
the world, we had better have a firstrate one, and 
everybody agrees that our cousin ' 

'Yes, yes, George,' said the duchess, 'ask him to 
come; tell him it is very urgent, that we must 
consult him immediately; and then, if he be engaged, 
1 dare say he will manage to come all the same.' 

Accordingly, about half-past eight o'clock, the two 
peers arrived at Bellamont House together. They 
were unexpectedly late; they had been detained at 
the House. The duke was excited; even Lord Esk- 
dale looked as if something had happened. Some- 
thing had happened; there had been a division in the 
House of Lords. Rare and startling event! It seemed 
as if the peers were about to resume their functions. 
Divisions in the House of Lords are now-a-days so 
thinly scattered, that, when one occurs, the peers 
cackle as if they had laid an egg. They are quite 
proud of the proof of their still procreative powers. 
The division to-night had not been on a subject of 
any public interest or importance; but still it was a 



TANCRED loi 

division, and, what was more, the Government had 
been left in a minority. True, the catastrophe was 
occasioned by a mistai^e. The dictator had been 
asleep during the debate, woke suddenly from a dys- 
peptic dream, would make a speech, and spoke on 
the wrong side. A lively colleague, not yet suffi- 
ciently broken in to the frigid discipline of the High 
Court of Registry, had pulled the great man once by 
his coat-tails, a House of Commons practice, permit- 
ted to the Cabinet when their chief is blundering, 
very necessary sometimes for a lively leader, but of 
which Sir Robert highly disapproves, as the arrange- 
ment of his coat-tails, next to beating the red box, 
forms the most important part of his rhetorical acces- 
sories. The dictator, when he at length compre- 
hended that he had made a mistake, persisted in 
adhering to it; the division was called, some of the 
officials escaped, the rest were obliged to vote with 
their ruthless master; but his other friends, glad of an 
opportunity of asserting their independence and ad- 
ministering to the dictator a slight check in a quiet 
inoffensive way, put him in a minority; and the Duke 
of Bellamont and Lord Eskdale had contributed to 
this catastrophe. 

Dinner was served in the library; the conversation 
during it was chiefly the event of the morning. The 
duchess, who, though not a partisan, was something 
of a politician, thought it was a pity that the dictator 
had ever stepped out of his military sphere; her hus- 
band, who had never before seen a man's coat-tails 
pulled when he was speaking, dilated much upon the 
singular circumstance of Lord Spur so disporting him- 
self on the present occasion; while Lord Eskdale, who 
had sat for a long time in the House of Commons, 



I02 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

and who was used to everything, assured his cousin that 
the custom, though odd, was by no means irregular. 
'I remember,' said his lordship, 'seeing Ripon, when 
he was Robinson, and Huskisson, each pulling one of 
Canning's coat-tails at the same time.' 

Throughout dinner not a word about Tancred. 
Lord Eskdale neither asked where he was nor how he 
was. At length, to the great relief of the duchess, 
dinner was finished; the servants had disappeared. 
The duke pushed away the table; they drew their 
chairs round the hearth; Lord Eskdale took half a 
glass of Madeira, then stretched his legs a little, then 
rose, stirred the fire, and then, standing with his back 
to it and his hands in his pockets, said, in a careless 
tone approaching to a drawl, 'And so, duchess, Tan- 
cred wants to go to Jerusalem.?' 

'George has told you, then, all our troubles.?' 

'Only that; he left the rest to you, and I came to 
hear it.' 

Whereupon the duchess went off, and spoke for a 
considerable time with great animation and ability, 
the duke hanging on every word with vigilant interest. 
Lord Eskdale never interrupting her for an instant; 
while she stated the case not only with the impas- 
sioned feeling of a devoted mother, but occasionally 
with all the profundity of a theologian. She did not 
conceal from him the interview between Tancred and 
the bishop; it was her last effort, and had failed; and 
so, 'after all our plans,' she ended, 'as far as I can 
form an opinion, he is absolutely more resolved than 
ever to go to Jerusalem.' 

'Well,' said his lordship, 'it is at least better than 
going to the Jews, which most men do at his time 
of life.' 



TANCRED 103 

'I cannot agree even to that,' said the duchess; 
'for I would rather that he should be ruined than 
die.' 

'Men do not die as they used,' said his lordship. 
'Ask the annuity offices; they have all raised their 
rates.' 

' I know nothing about annuity offices, but I know 
that almost everybody dies who goes to those coun- 
tries; look at young Fernborough, he was just Tan- 
cred's age; the fevers alone must kill him.' 

'He must take some quinine in his dressing-case,' 
said Lord Eskdale. 

'You jest, Henry,' said the duchess, disappointed, 
'when I am in despair.' 

'No,' said Lord Eskdale, looking up to the ceiling, 
' 1 am thinking how you may prevent Tancred from 
going to Jerusalem, without, at the same time, op- 
posing his wishes.' 

'Ay, ay,' said the duke, 'that is it.' And he 
looked triumphantly to his wife, as much as to say, 
'Now you see what it is to be a man of the world.' 

'A man cannot go to Jerusalem as he would to 
Birmingham, by the next train,' continued his lord- 
ship; 'he must get something to take him; and if 
you make the sacrifice of consenting to his departure, 
you have a right to stipulate as to the manner in 
which he should depart. Your son ought to travel 
with a suite; he ought to make the voyage in his 
own yacht. Yachts are not to be found like hack 
cabs, though there are several for sale now; but then 
they are not of the admeasurement of which you ap- 
prove for such a voyage and such a sea. People talk 
very lightly of the Mediterranean, but there are such 
things as white squalls. Anxious parents, and parents 

15 B. D.— 20 



I04 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

so fond of a son as you are, and a son whose life for 
so many reasons is so precious, have a right to make 
it a condition of their consent to his departure, that 
he should embark in a vessel of considerable tonnage. 
He will find difficulty in buying one second-hand; if 
he finds one it will not please him. He will get in- 
terested in yacht-building, as he is interested now 
about Jerusalem: both boyish fancies. He will stay 
another year in England to build a yacht to take him 
to the Holy Land; the yacht will be finished this 
time twelvemonths; and, instead of going to Palestine, 
he will go to Cowes.' 

'That is quite my view of the case,' said the 
duke. 

'It never occurred to me,' said the duchess. 

Lord Eskdale resumed his seat, and took another 
half-glass of Madeira. 

'Well, I think it is very satisfactory, Katherine,' 
said the duke, after a short pause. 

'And what do you recommend us to do first.?' 
said the duchess to Lord Eskdale. 

'Let Tancred go into society: the best way for 
him to forget Jerusalem is to let him see London.' 

'But how can I manage it?' said the duchess. 'I 
never go anywhere; nobody knows him, and he does 
not wish to know anybody.' 

'I will manage it, with your permission; 'tis not 
difficult; a young marquess has only to evince an in- 
clination, and in a week's time he will be every- 
where. I will tell Lady St. Julians and the great 
ladies to send him invitations; they will fall like a 
snow-storm. All that remains is for you to prevail 
upon him to accept them.' 

'And how shall I contrive it? 'said the duchess. 



TANCRED 105 

'Easily,' said Lord Eskdale. 'Make his going into 
society, while his yacht is preparing, one of the con- 
ditions of the great sacrifice you are making. He 
cannot refuse you: 'tis but the first step. A youth 
feels a little repugnance to launching into the great 
world: 'tis shyness; but after the plunge, the great 
difficulty is to restrain rather than to incite. Let him 
but once enter the world, and be tranquil, he will 
soon find something to engage him.' 

'As long as he does not take to play,' said the 
duke, 'I do not much care what he does.' 

'My dear George!' said the duchess, 'how can you 
say such things! I was in hopes,' she added, in a 
mournful tone, 'that we might have settled him, 
without his entering what you call the world, Henry. 
Dearest child! I fancy him surrounded by pitfalls.' 





CHAPTER XII. 

The Dreamer Enters Society. 

FTER this consultation with Lord 
'p Eskdale, the duchess became easier 

in her mind. She was of a san- 
guine temper, and with facility 

believed what she wished. Affairs 
stood thus: it was agreed by all that 
Tancred should go to the Holy Land, but he was to 
go in his own yacht; which yacht was to be of a 
firstrate burthen, and to be commanded by an officer 
in H.M.S. ; and he was to be accompanied by Colonel 
Brace, Mr. Bernard, and Mr. Roby; and the servants 
were to be placed entirely under the control of some 
trusty foreigner accustomed to the East, and who was 
to be chosen by Lord Eskdale. In the meantime, _ 
Tancred had acceded to the wish of his parents, that ■ 
until his departure he should mix much in society. ^ 
The duchess calculated that, under any circumstances, 
three months must elapse before all the arrangements 
were concluded; and she felt persuaded that, during 
that period, Tancred must become enamoured of his 
cousin Katherine, and that the only use of the yacht 
would be to take them all to Ireland. The duke was 
resolved only on two points: that his son should do 
exactly as his son liked, and that he himself would 
(106) 



TANCRED 107 

never take the advice, on any subject, of any other 
person than Lord Eskdale. 

In the meantime Tancred was launched, almost 
unconsciously, into the great world. The name of 
the Marquess of Montacute was foremost in those del- 
icate lists by which an eager and admiring public is 
apprised who, among their aristocracy, eat, drink, 
dance, and sometimes pray. From the saloons of Bel- 
grave and Grosvenor Square to the sacred recesses of 
the Chapel Royal, the movements of Lord Montacute 
were tracked and registered, and were devoured 
every morning, oftener with a keener relish than the 
matin meal of which they formed a regular portion. 
England is the only country which enjoys the un- 
speakable advantage of being thus regularly, promptly, 
and accurately furnished with catalogues of those 
favoured beings who are deemed qualified to enter 
the houses of the great. What condescension in those 
who impart the information! What indubitable evi- 
dence of true nobility! What superiority to all petty 
vanity! And in those who receive it, what freedom 
from all little feelings! No arrogance on one side; on 
the other, no envy. It is only countries blessed with 
a free press that can be thus favoured. Even a free 
press is not alone sufficient. Besides a free press, you 
must have a servile public. 

After all, let us be just. The uninitiated world is apt 
to believe that there is sometimes, in the outskirts of 
fashion, an eagerness, scarcely consistent with self- 
respect, to enter the mansions of the great. Not at 
all: few people really want to go to their grand par- 
ties. It is not the charms of conversation, the flash 
of wit or the blaze of beauty, the influential presence 
of the powerful and celebrated, all the splendour and 



io8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

refinement, which, combined, offer in a polished 
saloon so much to charm the taste and satisfy the 
intellect, that the mass of social partisans care any- 
thing about. What they want is, not so much to be 
in her ladyship's house as in her ladyship's list. 
After the party at Coningsby Castle, our friend, Mrs. 
Guy Flouncey, at length succeeded in being asked to 
one of Lady St. Julians' assemblies. It was a great 
triumph, and Mrs. Guy Flouncey determined to make 
the most of it. She was worthy of the occasion. 
But alas! next morning, though admitted to the rout, 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey was left out of the list! It was a 
severe blow! But Mrs. Guy Flouncey is in every list 
now, and even strikes out names herself But there 
never was a woman who advanced with such dex- 
terity. 

Lord Montacute was much shocked, when, one 
morning, taking up a journal, he first saw his name 
in print. He was alone, and he blushed; felt, indeed, 
extremely distressed, when he found that the English 
people were formally made acquainted with the fact 
that he had dined on the previous Saturday with the 
Earl and Countess of St. Julians; 'a grand banquet,' 
of which he was quite unconscious until he read it; 
and that he was afterwards ' observed ' at the Opera. 

He found that he had become a public character, 
and he was not by any means conscious of meriting 
celebrity. To be pointed at as he walked the streets, 
were he a hero, or had done, said, or written any- 
thing that anybody remembered, though at first pain- 
ful and embarrassing, for he was shy, he could 
conceive ultimately becoming endurable, and not 
without a degree of excitement, for he was ambitious; 
but to be looked at because he was a young lord. 



TANCRED 109 

and that this should be the only reason why the pub- 
lic should be informed where he dined, or where he 
amused himself, seemed to him not only vexatious 
but degrading. When he arrived, however, at a 
bulletin of his devotions, he posted off immediately 
to the Surrey Canal to look at a yacht there, and re- 
solved not to lose unnecessarily one moment in set- 
ting off for Jerusalem. 

He had from the first busied himself about the 
preparations for his voyage with all the ardour of 
youth; that is, with all the energy of inexperience, 
and all the vigour of simplicity. As everything 
seemed to depend upon his obtaining a suitable 
vessel, he trusted to no third person; had visited 
Cowes several times; advertised in every paper; and 
had already met with more than one yacht which at 
least deserved consideration. The duchess was quite 
frightened at his progress. * I am afraid he has found 
one,' she said to Lord Eskdale; 'he will be off di- 
rectly.' 

Lord Eskdale shook his head. 'There are always 
things of this sort in the market. He will inquire 
before he purchases, and he will find that he has got 
hold of a slow coach.' 

'A slow coach!' said the duchess, looking inquir- 
ingly. 'What is that?' 

' A tub that sails like a collier, and which, instead 
of taking him to Jerusalem, will hardly take him to 
Newcastle.' 

Lord Eskdale was right. Notwithstanding all his 
ardour, all his inquiries, visits to Cowes and the 
Surrey Canal, advertisements and answers to adver- 
tisements, time flew on, and Tancred was still with- 
out a yacht. 



no BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

In this unsettled state, Tancred found himself one 
evening at Deloraine House. It was not a ball, it 
was only a dance, brilliant and select; but, all the 
same, it seemed to Tancred that the rooms could not 
be much more crowded. The name of the Marquess 
of Montacute, as it was sent along by the servants, 
attracted attention. Tancred had scarcely entered the 
world, his appearance had made a sensation, every- 
body talked of him, many had not yet seen him. 

'Oh! that is Lord Montacute,' said a great lady, 
looking through her glass; 'very distinguished!' 

'I tell you what,' whispered Mr. Ormsby to Lord 
Valentine, 'you young men had better look sharp; 
Lord Montacute will cut you all out!' 

'Oh! he is going to Jerusalem,' said Lord Val- 
entine. 

'Jerusalem!' said Mr. Ormsby, shrugging his 
shoulders. 'What can he find to do at Jerusalem?' 

'What, indeed,' said Lord Milford. 'My brother 
was there in '39; he got leave after the bombardment 
of Acre, and he says there is absolutely no sport of 
any kind.' 

'There used to be partridges in the time of Jere- 
miah,' said Mr. Ormsby; 'at least they told us so at 
the Chapel Royal last Sunday, where, by-the-bye, I 
saw Lord Montacute for the first time; and a deuced 
good-looking fellow he is,' he added, musingly. 

'Well, there is not a bird in the whole country 
now,' said Lord Milford. 

'Montacute does not care for sport,' said Lord 
Valentine. 

'What does he care for.?' asked Lord Milford. 
' Because, if he wants any horses, 1 can let him have 
some.' 



TANCRED 1 1 1 

'He wants to buy a yacht,' said Lord Valentine; 
'and that reminds me that I heard to-day Exmouth 
wanted to get rid of "The Flower of Yarrow," and 
I think it would suit my cousin. I'll tell him of it.' 
And he followed Tancred. 

' You and Valentine must rub up your harness, Mil- 
ford,' said Mr. Ormsby; 'there is a new champion in 
the field. We are talking of Lord Montacute,' continued 
Mr. Ormsby, addressing himself to Mr. Melton, who 
joined them; M tell Milford he will cut you all out.' 

'Well,' said Mr. Melton, 'for my part I have had 
so much success, that I have no objection, by way 
of change, to be for once eclipsed.' 

'Well done. Jemmy,' said Lord Milford. 

'I see, Melton,' said Mr. Ormsby, 'you are recon- 
ciled to your fate like a philosopher.' 

'Well, Montacute,' said Lord St. Patrick, a good- 
tempered, witty Milesian, with a laughing eye, 'when 
are you going to Jericho?' 

'Tell me,' said Tancred, in reply, and rather ear- 
nestly, 'who is that.?' And he directed the attention 
of Lord St. Patrick to a young lady, rather tall, a 
briUiant complexion, classic features, a profusion of 
light brown hair, a face of intelligence, and a figure 
rich and yet graceful. 

'That is Lady Constance Rawleigh; if you like, I 
will introduce you to her. She is my cousin, and 
deuced clever. Come along!' 

In the meantime, in the room leading to the 
sculpture gallery where they are dancing, the throng 
is even excessive. As the two great divisions, those 
who would enter the gallery and those who are 
quitting it, encounter each other, they exchange fly- 
ing phrases as they pass. 



112 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'They told me you had gone to Paris! ! have 
just returned. Dear me, how time flies! Pretty 
dance, is it not? Very. Do you know whether the 
Madlethorpes mean to come up this year,? 1 hardly 
know; their little girl is very ill. Ah! so I hear; 
what a pity, and such a fortune! Such a pity with 
such a fortune! How d'ye do ? Mr. Coningsby here.? 
No; he's at the House. They say he is a very close 
attendant. It interests him. Well, Lady Florentina, 
you never sent me the dances. Pardon, but you will 
fmd them when you return. I lent them to Augusta, 
and she would copy them. Is it true that I am to 
congratulate you.? Why? Lady Blanche? Oh! that 
is a romance of Easter week. Well, 1 am really de- 
lighted; I think such an excellent match for both; 
exactly suited to each other. They think so. Well, 
that is one point. How well Lady Everingham is 
looking! She is quite herself again. Quite. Tell 
me, have you seen M. de Talleyrand here? I spoke 
to him but this moment. Shall you be at Lady 
Blair's to-morrow? No; I have promised to go to 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey's. She has taken Craven Cottage, 
and is to be at home every Saturday. Well, if you 
are going, I think 1 shall. I would; everybody will 
be there.' 

Lord Montacute had conversed some time with 
Lady Constance; then he had danced with her; he 
had hovered about her during the evening. It was 
observed, particularly by some of the most experienced 
mothers. Lady Constance was a distinguished beauty 
of two seasons; fresh, but adroit. It was understood 
that she had refused offers of a high calibre; but the 
rejected still sighed about her, and it was therefore 
supposed that, though decided, she had the art of 



TANCRED 113 

not rendering them desperate. One at least of them 
was of a rank equal to that of Tancred. She had 
the reputation of being very clever, and of being able, 
if it pleased her, to breathe scorpions as well as 
brilliants and roses. It had got about that she ad- 
mired intellect, and, though she claimed the highest 
social position, that a booby would not content her, 
even if his ears were covered with strawberry 
leaves. 

In the cloak-room, Tancred was still at her side, 
and was presented to her mother, Lady Charmouth. 

'1 am sorry to separate,' said Tancred. 

'And so am I,' said Lady Constance, smiling; 
'but one advantage of this life is, we meet our friends 
every day.' 

'I am not going anywhere to-morrow, where 
I shall meet you,' said Tancred, 'unless you chance 
to dine at the Archbishop of York's.' 

' I am not going to dine with the Archbishop of 
York,' said Lady Constance, 'but I am going, where 
everybody else is going, to breakfast with Mrs. Guy 
Flouncey, at Craven Cottage. Why, will not you be 
there ? ' 

'1 have not the honour of knowing her,' said 
Tancred. 

'That is not of the slightest consequence; she will 
be very happy to have the honour of knowing you. 
1 saw her in the dancing-room, but it is not worth 
while waiting to speak to her now. You shall re- 
ceive an invitation the moment you are awake.' 

' But to-morrow I have an engagement. I have to 
look at a yacht.' 

' But that you can look at on Monday; besides, if 
you wish to know anything about yachts, you had 



114 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

better speak to my brother, Fitz-Heron, who has built 
more than any man alive.' 

* Perhaps he has one that he wishes to part with ? ' 
said Tancred. 

' I have no doubt of it. You can ask him to- 
morrow at Mrs. Guy Flouncey's.' 

*I will. Lady Charmouth's carriage is called. May 
I have the honour?' said Tancred, offering his arm. 




CHAPTER XIII, 




A Feminine Diplomatist. 

y HERE is nothing so remarkable as 
feminine influence. Although the 
character of Tancred was not com- 
pletely formed — for that result 
depends, in some degree, upon the 
effect of circumstances at a certain 
time of life, as well as on the impulse of a natural 
bent — still the temper of his being was profound and 
steadfast. He had arrived, in solitude and by the 
working of his own thought, at a certain resolution, 
which had assumed to his strong and fervent imagi- 
nation a sacred character, and which he was deter- 
mined to accomplish at all costs. He had brought 
himself to the point that he would not conceive an 
obstacle that should baulk him. He had acceded to 
the conditions which had been made by his parents, 
for he was by nature dutiful, and wished to fulfil his 
purpose, if possible, with their sanction. 

Yet he had entered society with repugnance, and 
found nothing in its general tone with which his 
spirit harmonised. He was alone in the crowd; si- 
lent, observing, and not charmed. There seemed to 
him generally a want of simplicity and repose; too 



ii6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

much flutter, not a little affectation. People met in 
the thronged chambers, and interchanged brief words, 
as if they were always in a hurry, ' Have you been 
here long? Where are you going next?' These 
were the questions which seemed to form the staple 
of the small talk of a fashionable multitude. Why, 
too, was there a smile on every countenance, which 
often also assumed the character of a grin ? No error 
so common or so grievous as to suppose that a smile 
is a necessary ingredient of the pleasing. There are 
few faces that can afford to smile. A smile is some- 
times bewitching, in general vapid, often a contor- 
tion. But the bewitching smile usually beams from 
the grave face. It is then irresistible. Tancred, 
though he was unaware of it, was gifted with this 
rare spell. He had inherited it from his mother; a 
woman naturally earnest and serious, and of a singu- 
lar simplicity, but whose heart when pleased spoke 
in the dimpling sunshine of her cheek with exquisite 
beauty. The smiles of the Duchess of Bellamont, 
however, were like her diamonds, brilliant, but rarely 
worn. 

Tancred had not mounted the staircase of Delo- 
raine House with any anticipation of pleasure. His 
thoughts were far away amid cities of the desert, and 
by the palmy banks of ancient rivers. He often took 
refuge in these exciting and ennobling visions, to 
maintain himself when he underwent the ceremony 
of entering a great house. He was so shy in little 
things, that to hear his name sounded from servant 
to servant, echoing from landing-place to landing- 
place, was almost overwhelming. Nothing but his 
pride, which was just equal to his reserve, prevented 
him from often turning back on the stairs and pre- 



TANCRED 117 

cipitately retreating. And yet he had not been ten 
minutes in Deloraine House, before he had absolutely 
requested to be introduced to a lady. It was the 
first time he had ever made such a request. 

He returned home, softly musing. A tone lingered 
in his ear; he recalled the countenance of one absent. 
In his dressing-room he Hngered before he retired, 
with his arm on the mantel-piece, and gazing with 
abstraction on the fire. 

When his servant called him, late in the morning, 
he delivered to him a card from Mrs. Guy Flouncey, 
inviting him on that day to Craven Cottage, at three 
o'clock: 'dejeuner at four o'clock precisely.' Tancred 
took the card, looked at it, and the letters seemed to 
cluster together and form the countenance of Lady 
Constance. 'It will be a good thing to go,' he said, 
'because I want to know Lord Fitz-Heron; he will be 
of great use to me about my yacht.' So he ordered 
his carriage at three o'clock. 

The reader must not for a moment suppose that 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey, though she was quite as well 
dressed, and almost as pretty, as she was when at 
Coningsby Castle in 1837, was by any means the 
same lady who then strove to amuse and struggled 
to be noticed. By no means. In 1837, Mrs. Guy 
Flouncey was nobody; in 1845, Mrs. Guy Flouncey 
was somebody, and somebody of very great impor- 
tance. Mrs. Guy Flouncey had invaded society, and 
had conquered it, gradually, but completely, like the 
English in India. Social invasions are not rare, but 
they are seldom fortunate, or success, if achieved, is 
partial, and then only sustained at immense cost, like 
the French in Algiers. 

The Guy Flounceys were not people of great for- 



ii8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tune. They had a good fortune; seven or eight 
thousand a year. But then, with an air of great 
expenditure, even profusion, there was a basis of 
good management. And a good fortune with good 
management, and without that equivocal luxury, a 
great country-house, is almost equal to the great for- 
tune of a peer. But they not only had no country- 
house, they had no children. And a good fortune, 
with good management, no country-house, and no 
children, is Aladdin's lamp. 

Mr. Guy Flouncey was a sporting character. His 
wife had impressed upon him that it was the only 
way in which he could become fashionable and 
acquainted with 'the best men.' He knew just 
enough of the affair not to be ridiculous; and, for 
the rest, with a great deal of rattle and apparent 
heedlessness of speech and deed, he was really an ex- 
tremely selfish and sufficiently shrewd person, who 
never compromised himself. It is astonishing with 
what dexterity Guy Flouncey could extricate himself 
from the jaws of a friend, who, captivated by his 
thoughtless candour and ostentatiously good heart, 
might be induced to request Mr. Flouncey to lend 
him a few hundreds, only for a few months, or, more 
diplomatically, might beg his friend to become his 
security for a few thousands, for a few years. 

Mr. Guy Flouncey never refused these applications; 
they were exactly those to which it delighted his heart 
to respond, because nothing pleased him more than 
serving a friend. But then he always had to write a 
preliminary letter of preparation to his banker, or his 
steward, or his confidential solicitor; and, by some 
contrivance or other, without offending any one, 
rather with the appearance of conferring an obliga- 



TANCRED 119 

tion, it ended always by Mr. Guy Flouncey neither 
advancing the hundreds, nor guaranteeing the thou- 
sands. He had, indeed, managed, like many others, 
to get the reputation of being what is called 'a good 
fellow;' though it would have puzzled his panegyrists 
to allege a single act of his that evinced a good heart. 

This sort of pseudo reputation, whether for good 
or for evil, is not uncommon in the world. Man is 
mimetic; judges of character are rare; we repeat with- 
out thought the opinions of some third person, who 
has adopted them without inquiry; and thus it often 
happens that a proud, generous man obtains in time 
the reputation of being 'a. screw,' because he has re- 
fused to lend money to some impudent spendthrift, 
who from that moment abuses him; and a cold- 
hearted, civil-spoken personage, profuse in costless 
services, with a spice of the parasite in him, or per- 
haps hospitable out of vanity, is invested with all the 
thoughtless sympathies of society, and passes current 
as that most popular of characters, 'a good fellow.' 

Guy Flouncey's dinners began to be talked of 
among men: it became a sort of fashion, especially 
among sporting men, to dine with Mr. Guy Flouncey, 
and there they met Mrs. Guy Flouncey. Not an 
opening ever escaped her. If a man had a wife, and 
that wife was a personage, sooner or later, much as 
she might toss her head at first, she was sure to 
visit Mrs. Guy Flouncey, and, when she knew her, 
she was sure to like her. The Guy Flounceys never 
lost a moment; the instant the season was over, they 
were at Cowes, then at a German bath, then at Paris, 
then at an English country-house, then in London. 

Seven years, to such people, was half a century of 
social experience. They had half a dozen seasons in 

15 B. D.-21 



I20 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

every year. Still, it was hard work, and not rapid. At 
a certain point they stuck, as all do. Most people, then, 
give it up; but patience, Buffon tells us, is genius, and 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey was, in her way, a woman of 
genius. Their dinners were, in a certain sense, es- 
tablished: these in return brought them to a certain 
degree into the dinner world; but balls, at least balls 
of a high calibre, were few, and as for giving a ball 
herself, Mrs. Guy Flouncey could no more presume 
to think of that than of attempting to prorogue Par- 
liament. The house, however, got really celebrated 
for 'the best men.' Mrs. Guy Flouncey invited all the 
young dancing lords to dinner. Mothers will bring 
their daughters where there are young lords. Mrs. 
Guy Flouncey had an opera-box in the best tier, 
which she took only to lend to her friends; and a box 
at the French play, which she took only to bribe her 
foes. They were both at everybody's service, like 
Mr. Guy Flouncey's yacht, provided the persons who 
required them were members of that great world in 
which Mrs. Guy Flouncey had resolved to plant her- 
self. 

Mrs. Guy Flouncey was pretty; she was a flirt on 
principle; thus she had caught the Marquess of Beau- 
manoir, who, if they chanced to meet, always spoke 
to her, which gave Mrs. Guy Flouncey fashion. But 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey was nothing more than a flirt. 
She never made a mistake; she was born with strong 
social instincts. She knew that the fine ladies among 
whom, from the first, she had determined to place 
herself, were moral martinets with respect to any one 
not born among themselves. That which is not ob- 
served, or, if noticed, playfully alluded to in the con- 
duct of a patrician dame, is visited with scorn and 



TANCRED 121 

contumely if committed by some 'shocking woman,' 
who has deprived perhaps a countess of the affec- 
tions of a husband who has not spoken to her for 
years. But if the countess is to lose her husband, 
she ought to lose him to a viscountess, at least. In 
this way the earl is not lost to 'society.' 

A great nobleman met Mrs. Guy Flouncey at a 
country-house, and was fairly captivated by her. Her 
pretty looks, her coquettish manner, her vivacity, her 
charming costume, above all, perhaps, her imperturb- 
able good temper, pierced him to the heart. The 
great nobleman's wife had the weakness to be an- 
noyed. Mrs. Guy Flouncey saw her opportunity. 
She threw over the earl, and became the friend of 
the countess, who could never sufficiently evince her 
gratitude to the woman who would not make love 
to her husband. This friendship was the incident for 
which Mrs. Guy Flouncey had been cruising for 
years. Men she had vanquished; they had given her 
a sort of ton which she had prudently managed. She 
had not destroyed herself by any fatal preference. 
Still, her fashion among men necessarily made her 
unfashionable among women, who, if they did not 
absolutely hate her, which they would have done had 
she had a noble lover, were determined not to help 
her up the social ladder. Now she had a great friend, 
and one of the greatest of ladies. The moment she 
had pondered over for years had arrived. Mrs. Guy 
Flouncey determined at once to test her position. 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey resolved on giving a ball. 

But some of our friends in the country will say, 
' Is that all ? Surely it required no very great resolu- 
tion, no very protracted pondering, to determine on 
giving a ball! Where is the difficulty? The lady has 



122 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

but to light up her house, hire the fiddlers, line her 
staircase with American plants, perhaps enclose her 
balcony, order Mr. Gunter to provide plenty of the 
best refreshments, and at one o'clock a superb sup- 
per, and, with the company of your friends, you 
have as good a ball as can be desired by the young, 
or endured by the old.' 

Innocent friends in the country! You might have 
all these things. Your house might be decorated like 
a Russian palace, blazing with the most brilliant hghts 
and breathing the richest odours; you might have 
Jullien presiding over your orchestra, and a banquet 
worthy of the Romans. As for your friends, they 
might dance until daybreak, and agree that there 
never was an entertainment more tasteful, more 
sumptuous, and, what would seem of the first im- 
portance, more merry. But, having all these things, 
suppose you have not a list ? You have given a ball, 
you have not a list. The reason is obvious: you are 
ashamed of your guests. You are not in ' society.' 

But even a list is not sufficient for success. You 
must also get a day: the most difficult thing in the 
world. After inquiring among your friends, and 
studying the columns of the Morning Post, you dis- 
cover that, five weeks hence, a day is disengaged. 
You send out your cards; your house is dismantled; 
your lights are arranged; the American plants have 
arrived; the band, perhaps two bands, are engaged. 
Mr. Gunter has half dressed your supper, and made 
all your ice, when suddenly, within eight-and-forty 
hours of the festival which you have been five weeks 
preparing, the Marchioness of Deloraine sends out 
cards for a ball in honour of some European sover- 
eign who has just alighted on our isle, and means 



TANCRED 123 

to stay only a week, and at whose court, twenty 
years ago, Lord Deloraine was ambassador. Instead 
of receiving your list, you are obliged to send mes- 
sengers in all directions to announce that your ball is 
postponed, although you are perfectly aware that not 
a single individual would have been present whom 
you would have cared to welcome. 

The ball is postponed; and next day the Morning 
Post informs us it is postponed to that day week; 
and the day after you have circulated this interesting 
intelligence, you yourself, perhaps, have the gratifica- 
tion of receiving an invitation, for the same day, to 
Lady St. Julians': with 'dancing' neatly engraved in 
the corner. You yield in despair; and there are some 
ladies who, with every qualification for an excellent 
ball — guests, Gunter, American plants, pretty daugh- 
ters — have been watching and waiting for years for 
an opportunity of giving it; and at last, quite hope- 
less, at the end of the season, expend their funds in 
a series of Greenwich banquets, which sometimes for- 
tunately produce the results expected from the more 
imposing festivity. 

You see, therefore, that giving a ball is not that 
matter-of-course affair you imagined; and that for Mrs. 
Guy Flouncey to give a ball and succeed, completely, 
triumphantly to succeed, was a feat worthy of that 
fine social general. Yet she did it. The means, like 
everything that is great, were simple. She induced 
her noble friend to ask her guests. Her noble friend 
canvassed for her as if it were a county election of 
the good old days, when the representation of a shire 
was the certain avenue to a peerage, instead of being, 
as it is now, the high road to a poor-law commis- 
sionership. Many were very glad to make the ac- 



124 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

quaintance of Mrs. Guy Flouncey; many only wanted 
an excuse to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Guy 
Flouncey; they went to her party because they were 
asked by their dear friend, Lady Kingcastle. As for 
the potentates, there is no disguise on these subjects 
among them. They went to Mrs. Guy Flouncey's 
ball because one who was their equal, not only in 
rank, but in social influence, had requested it as a 
personal favour, she herself, when the occasion offered, 
being equally ready to advance their wishes. The 
fact was, that affairs were ripe for the recognition of 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey as a member of the social body. 
Circumstances had been long maturing. The Guy 
Flounceys, who, in the course of their preparatory 
career, had hopped from Park Crescent to Portman 
Square, had now perched upon their ' splendid man- 
sion' in Belgrave Square. Their dinners were re- 
nowned. Mrs. Guy Flouncey was seen at all the 
'best balls,' and was always surrounded by the 'best 
men.' Though a flirt and a pretty woman, she was a 
discreet parvenue, who did not entrap the affections of 
noble husbands. Above all, she was the friend of 
Lady Kingcastle, who called her and her husband 
'those good Guy Flounceys.' 

The ball was given; you could not pass through 
Belgrave Square that night. The list was published; 
it formed two columns of the Morning Post. Lady 
Kingcastle was honoured by the friendship of a royal 
duchess. She put the friendship to the proof, and her 
royal highness was seen at Mrs. Guy Flouncey's ball. 
Imagine the reception, the canopy, the scarlet cloth, 
the 'God save the King' from the band of the first 
guards, bivouacked in the hall, Mrs. Guy Flouncey 
herself performing her part as if she had received 



TANCRED 115 

princesses of the blood all her life; so reverent and 
yet so dignified, so very calm and yet with a sort of 
winning, sunny innocence. Her royal highness was 
quite charmed with her hostess, praised her much to 
Lady Kingcastle, told her that she was glad that she 
had come, and even stayed half an hour longer than 
Mrs. Guy Flouncey had dared to hope. As for the 
other guests, the peerage was gutted. The Dictator 
himself was there, and, the moment her royal high- 
ness had retired, Mrs. Guy Flouncey devoted herself 
to the hero. All the great ladies, all the ambassadors, 
all the beauties, a full chapter of the Garter, a chorus 
among the 'best men' that it was without doubt the 
'best ball' of the year, happy Mrs. Guy Flouncey! 
She threw a glance at her swing-glass while Mr. Guy 
Flouncey, who ' had not had time to get anything the 
whole evening,' was eating some supper on a tray in 
her dressing-room at five o'clock in the morning, and 
said, 'We have done it at last, my love!' 

She was right; and from that moment Mrs. Guy 
Flouncey was asked to all the great houses, and be- 
came a lady of the most unexceptionable ton. 

But all this time we are forgetting her d6jetlner, 
and that Tancred is winding his way through the 
garden lanes of Fulham to reach Craven Cottage. 





CHAPTER XIV. 
The Coningsbys. 



HE day was brilliant: music, sun- 
shine, ravishing bonnets, little para- 
sols that looked like large butterflies. 
The new phaetons glided up, 
then carriages-and-four swept by; 
in general the bachelors were en- 
sconced in their comfortable broughams, with their 
glasses down and their blinds drawn, to receive the 
air and to exclude the dust; some less provident were 
cavaliers, but, notwithstanding the well-watered roads, 
seemed a little dashed as they cast an anxious glance 
at the rose which adorned their button-hole, or fan- 
cied that they felt a flying black from a London chim- 
ney light upon the tip of their nose. 

Within, the winding walks dimly echoed whisper- 
ing words; the lawn was studded with dazzling 
groups; on the terrace by the river a dainty multitude 
beheld those celebrated waters which furnish floun- 
ders to Richmond and whitebait to Blackwall. 

'Mrs. Coningsby shall decide,' said Lord Beau- 
manoir. 

Edith and Lady Theresa Lyle stood by a statue 
that glittered in the sun, surrounded by a group of 
(126) 



TANCRED 127 

cavaliers; among them Lord Beaumanoir, Lord Mil- 
ford, Lord Eugene de Vere, Her figure was not less 
lithe and graceful since her marriage, a little more 
voluptuous; her rich complexion, her radiant and 
abounding hair, and her long grey eye, now melting 
with pathos, and now twinkling with mockery, pre- 
sented one of those faces of witchery which are be- 
yond beauty. 

'Mrs. Coningsby shall decide.' 

'It is the very thing,' said Edith, 'that Mrs. Con- 
ingsby will never do. Decision destroys suspense, 
and suspense is the charm of existence.' 

'But suspense may be agony,' said Lord Eugene 
de Vere, casting a glance that would read the inner- 
most heart of Edith. 

'And decision may be despair,' said Mrs. Con- 
ingsby. 

' But we agreed the other night that you were to 
decide everything for us,' said Lord Beaumanoir; 'and 
you consented.' 

' I consented the other night, and 1 retract my 
consent to-day; and 1 am consistent, for that is inde- 
cision.' 

'You are consistent in being charming,' said Lord 
Eugene. 

'Pleasing and original!' said Edith. ' By-the-bye, 
when I consented that the melancholy Jaques should 
be one of my aides-de-camp I expected him to main- 
tain his reputation, not only for gloom but wit. I 
think you had better go back to the forest, Lord Eu- 
gene, and see if you cannot stumble upon a fool who 
may drill you in repartee. How do you do. Lady 
Riddlesworth?' and she bowed to two ladies who 
seemed inclined to stop, but Edith added, ' 1 heard 



128 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

great applications for you this moment on the ter- 
race.' 

'Indeed!' exclaimed the ladies; and they moved on. 

'When Lady Riddlesworth joins the conversation 
it is like a stoppage in the streets. 1 invented a 
piece of intelligence to clear the wav, as you would 
call out Fire! or The queen is coming! There used 
to be things called vers de socUU, which were not 
poetry; and 1 do not see why there should not be 
social illusions which are not fibs.' 

'I entirely agree with you,' said Lord Milford; 
'and I move that we practise them on a large scale.' 

' Like the verses, they might make life more light,' 
said Lady Theresa. 

'We are surrounded by illusions,' said Lord Eugene, 
in a melancholy tone. 

'And shams of all descriptions,' said Edith; 'the 
greatest, a man who pretends he has a broken heart 
when all the time he is full of fun.' 

'There are a great many men who have broken 
hearts,' said Lord Beaumanoir, smiling sorrowfully. 

'Cracked heads are much commoner,' said Edith, 
' you may rely upon it. The only man 1 really know 
with a broken heart is Lord Fitz-Booby. 1 do think 
that paying Mount-Dullard's debts has broken his 
heart. He takes on so; 'tis piteous. "My dear Mrs. 
Coningsby," he said to me last night, "only think 
what that young man might have been; he might 
have been a lord of the treasury in '3^; why, if he 
had had nothing more in '41, why, there's a loss of 
between four and five thousand pounds; but with my 
claims — Sir Robert, having thrown the father over, 
was bound on his own principle to provide for the 
son — he might have got something better; and now 



TANCRED 



129 



he comes to me with his debts, and his reason for 
paying his debts, too, Mrs. Coningsby, because he is 
going to be married; to be married to a woman who 
has not a shilling. Why, if he had been in office, 
and only got 1,500/. a year, and married a woman 
with only another 1,500/., he would have had 3,000/. 
a year, Mrs. Coningsby; and now he has nothing of 
his own except some debts, which he wants me to 
pay, and settle 3,000/. a year on him besides." ' 

They all laughed. 

'Ah!' said Mrs. Coningsby, with a resemblance 
which made all start, 'you should have heard it with 
the Fitz-Buoby voice.' 

The character of a woman rapidly develops after 
marriage, and sometimes seems to change, when in 
fact it is only complete. Hitherto we have known 
Edith only in her girlhood, bred up in a life of great 
simplicity, and under the influence of a sweet fancy, 
or an absorbing passion. Coningsby had been a hero 
to her before they met, the hero of nursery hours and 
nursery tales. Experience had not disturbed those 
dreams. From the moment they encountered each 
other at Millbank, he assumed that place in her heart 
which he had long occupied in her imagination; and, 
after their second meeting at Paris, her existence was 
merged in love. All the crosses and vexations of 
their early affection only rendered this state of being 
on her part more profound and engrossing. 

But though Edith was a most happy wife, and 
blessed with two children worthy of their parents, 
love exercises quite a different influence upon a 
woman when she has married, and especially when 
she has assumed a social position which deprives life 
of all its real cares. Under any circumstances, that 



I30 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

suspense, which, with all its occasional agony, is the 
great spring of excitement, is over; but, generally 
speaking, it will be found, notwithstanding the 
proverb, that with persons of a noble nature, the 
straitened fortunes which they share together, and 
manage, and mitigate by mutual forbearance, are more 
conducive to the sustainment of a high-toned and 
romantic passion, than a luxurious prosperity. 

The wife of a man of limited fortune, who, by 
contrivance, by the concealed sacrifice of some ne- 
cessity of her own, supplies him with some slight 
enjoyment which he has never asked, but which she 
fancies he may have sighed for, experiences, without 
doubt, a degree of pleasure far more ravishing than 
the patrician dame who stops her barouche at Storr 
and Mortimer's, and out of her pin-money buys a 
trinket for the husband whom she loves, and which 
he finds, perhaps, on his dressing-table, on the anni- 
versary of their wedding-day. That's pretty too and 
touching, and should be encouraged; but the other 
thrills, and ends in an embrace that is still poetry. 

The Coningsbys shortly after their marriage had 
been called to the possession of a great fortune, for 
which, in every sense, they were well adapted. But 
a great fortune necessarily brings with it a great 
change of habits. The claims of society proportion- 
ately increase with your income. You live less for 
yourselves. For a selfish man, merely looking to his 
luxurious ease, Lord Eskdale's idea of having ten 
thousand a year, while the world suppose you have 
only five, is the right thing. Coningsby, however, 
looked to a great fortune as one of the means, rightly 
employed, of obtaining great power. He looked also 
to his wife to assist him in this enterprise. 



TANCRED 131 

Edith, from a native impulse, as well as from love 
for him, responded to his wish. When they were 
in the country, Hellingsley was a perpetual stream 
and scene of splendid hospitality; there the flower of 
London society mingled with all the aristocracy of 
the county. Leander was often retained specially, 
like a Wilde or a Kelly, to renovate the genius of 
the habitual chief: not of the circuit, but the kitchen. 
A noble mansion in Park Lane received them the 
moment Parliament assembled. Coningsby was then 
immersed in affairs, and counted entirely on Edith to 
cherish those social influences which in a public 
career are not less important than political ones. The 
whole weight of the management of society rested on 
her. She had to cultivate his alliances, keep together 
his friends, arrange his dinner-parties, regulate his en- 
gagements. What time for romantic love ? They 
were never an hour alone. Yet they loved not less; 
but love had taken the character of enjoyment instead 
of a wild bewitchment; and life had become an airy 
bustle, instead of a storm, an agony, a hurricane of 
the heart. 

in this change in the disposition, not in the de- 
gree, of their affection, for there was the same amount 
of sweet solicitude, only it was duly apportioned to 
everything that interested them, instead of being ex- 
clusively devoted to each other, the character of Edith, 
which had been swallowed up by the absorbing pas- 
sion, rapidly developed itself amid the social circum- 
stances. She was endued with great vivacity, a san- 
guine and rather saucy spirit, with considerable talents, 
and a large share of feminine vanity: that divine gift 
which makes woman charming. Entirely sympathis- 
ing with her husband, labouring with zeal to advance 



132 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

his views, and living perpetually in the world, all these 
qualities came to light. During her first season she 
had been very quiet, not less observant, making her- 
self mistress of the ground. It was prepared for her 
next campaign. When she evinced a disposition to 
take a lead, although found faultless the first year, it 
was suddenly remembered that she was a manufac- 
turer's daughter; and she was once described by a 
great lady as ' that person whom Mr. Coningsby had 
married, when Lord Monmouth cut him off with a 
shilling.' 

But Edith had anticipated these difficulties, and was 
not to be daunted. Proud of her husband, confident 
in herself, supported by a great establishment, and 
having many friends, she determined to exchange 
salutes with these social sharp-shooters, who are 
scarcely as courageous as they are arrogant. It was 
discovered that Mrs. Coningsby could be as malicious 
as her assailants, and far more epigrammatic. She 
could describe in a sentence and personify in a phrase. 
The mot was circulated, the nom de nique repeated. 
Surrounded by a brilliant band of youth and wit, even 
her powers of mimickry were revealed to the initiated. 
More than one social tyrant, whom all disliked, but 
whom none had ventured to resist, was made ridicu- 
lous. Flushed by success and stimulated by admira- 
tion, Edith flattered herself that she was assisting her 
husband while she was gratifying her vanity. Her 
adversaries soon vanished, but the powers that had 
vanquished them were too choice to be forgotten or 
neglected. The tone of raillery she had assumed for 
the moment, and extended, in self-defence, to per- 
sons, was adopted as a habit, and infused itself over 
affairs in general. 



TANCRED 133 

Mrs. Coningsby was the fashion; she was a wit as 
well as a beauty; a fascinating droll; dazzling and 
bewitching, the idol of every youth. Eugene de Vere 
was roused from his premature exhaustion, and at last 
found excitement again. He threw himself at her 
feet; she laughed at him. He asked leave to follow 
her footsteps; she consented. He was only one of a 
band of slaves. Lord Beaumanoir, still a bachelor, al- 
ways hovered about her, feeding on her laughing 
words with a mild melancholy, and sometimes bandy- 
ing repartee with a kind of tender and stately despair. 
His sister. Lady Theresa Lyle, was Edith's great 
friend. Their dispositions had some resemblance. 
Marriage had developed in both of them a frolic grace. 
They hunted in couple; and their sport was brilliant. 
Many things may be said by a strong female alliance, 
that would assume quite a different character were 
they even to fall from the lips of an Aspasia to a cir- 
cle of male votaries; so much depends upon the scene 
and the characters, the mode and the manner. 

The good-natured world would sometimes pause 
in its amusement, and, after dwelling with statistical 
accuracy on the number of times Mrs. Coningsby had 
danced the polka, on the extraordinary things she 
said to Lord Eugene de Vere, and the odd things she 
and Lady Theresa Lyle were perpetually doing, would 
wonder, with a face and voice of innocence, 'how 
Mr. Coningsby liked all this?' There is no doubt 
what was the anticipation by the good-natured world 
of Mr. Coningsby's feelings. But they were quite 
mistaken. There was nothing that Mr. Coningsby 
liked more. He wished his wife to become a social 
power; and he wished his wife to be amused. He 
saw that, with the surface of a life of levity, she al- 



134 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ready exercised considerable influence, especially over 
the young; and independently of such circumstances 
and considerations, he was delighted to have a wife 
who was not afraid of going into society by herself; 
not one whom he was sure to find at home when he 
returned from the House of Commons, not reproach- 
ing him exactly for her social sacrifices, but looking a 
victim, and thinking that she retained her hus- 
band's heart by being a mope. Instead of that Con- 
ingsby wanted to be amused when he came home, 
and more than that, he wanted to be instructed in the 
finest learning in the world. 

As some men keep up their Greek by reading 
every day a chapter in the New Testament, so Con- 
ingsby kept up his knowledge of the world, by al- 
ways, once at least in the four-and-twenty hours, 
having a delightful conversation with his wife. The 
processes were equally orthodox. Exempted from the 
tax of entering general society, free to follow his own 
pursuits, and to live in that political world which 
alone interested him, there was not an anecdote, a 
trait, a good thing said, or a bad thing done, which 
did not reach him by a fine critic and a lively nar- 
rator. He was always behind those social scenes 
which, after all, regulate the political performers, 
knew the springs of the whole machinery, the chang- 
ings and the shiftings, the fiery cars and golden 
chariots which men might mount, and the trap-doors 
down which men might fall. 

But the Marquess of Montacute is making his rev- 
erence to Mrs. Guy Flouncey. 

There was not at this moment a human being 
whom that lady was more glad to see at her cUjeHner; 
but she did not show it in the least. Her self-pos- 



1 



TANCRED 



^3S 



session, indeed, was the finest work of art of the 
day, and ought to be exhibited at the Adelaide Gal- 
lery. Like all mechanical inventions of a high class, 
it had been brought to perfection very gradually, and 
after many experiments. A variety of combinations, 
and an almost infinite number of trials, must have 
been expended before the too-startling laugh of Con- 
ingsby Castle could have subsided into the haughty 
suavity of that sunny glance, which was not familiar 
enough for a smile, nor foolish enough for a simper. 
As for the rattling vein which distinguished her in 
the days of our first acquaintance, that had long 
ceased. Mrs. Guy Flouncey now seemed to share 
the prevalent passion for genuine Saxon, and used 
only monosyllables; while Fine-ear himself would 
have been sometimes at fault had he attempted to 
give a name to her delicate breathings. In short, Mrs. 
Guy Flouncey never did or said anything but in ' the 
best taste.' It may, however, be a question, whether 
she ever would have captivated Lord Monmouth, and 
those who like a little nature and fun, if she had 
made her first advances in this style. But that showed 
the greatness of the woman. Then she was ready 
for anything for promotion. That was the age of 
forlorn hopes; but now she was a general of division, 
and had assumed a becoming carriage. 

This was the first dejeihier at which Tancred had 
been present. He rather liked it. The scene, lawns 
and groves and a glancing river, the air, the music, 
our beautiful countrywomen, who, with their bril- 
liant complexions and bright bonnets, do not shrink 
from the daylight, these are circumstances which, 
combined with youth and heahh, make a morning 
festival, say what they like, particularly for the first 



136 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

time, very agreeable, even if one be dreaming of Jeru- 
salem. Strange power of the world, that the mo- 
ment we enter it, our great conceptions dwarf! In 
youth it is quick sympathy that degrades them; more 
advanced, it is the sense of the ridiculous. But per- 
haps these reveries of solitude may not be really 
great conceptions; perhaps they are only exaggera- 
tions; vague, indefinite, shadowy, formed on no 
sound principles, founded on no assured basis. 

Why should Tancred go to Jerusalem? What 
does it signify to him whether there be religious 
truth or political justice? He has youth, beauty, rank, 
wealth, power, and all in excess. He has a mind that 
can comprehend their importance and appreciate their 
advantages. What more does he require? Unreason- 
able boy! And if he reach Jerusalem, why should 
he find religious truth and political justice there? He 
can read of it in the travelling books, written by 
young gentlemen, with the best letters of introduc- 
tion to all the consuls. They tell us what it is, a 
third-rate city in a stony wilderness. Will the Provi- 
dence of fashion prevent this great folly about to be 
perpetrated by one born to be fashion's most bril- 
liant subject ? A folly, too, which may end in a 
catastrophe? His parents, indeed, have appealed in 
vain; but the sneer of the world will do more than 
the supplication of the father. A mother's tear may 
be disregarded, but the sigh of a mistress has 
changed the most obdurate. We shall see. At 
present Lady Constance Rawleigh expresses her 
pleasure at Tancred's arrival, and his heart beats a 
little. 




CHAPTER XV. 

Disenchantment. 

HEY are talking about it,' said Lord 
Eskdale to tiie duciiess, as she 
looked up to iiim with an ex- 
pression of the deepest interest. 
'He asked St. Patrick to intro- 
duce him to her at Deloraine House, 
danced with her, was with her the whole evening, 
went to the breakfast on Saturday to meet her, in- 
stead of going to Blackwall to see a yacht he was 
after.' 

'If it were only Katherine,' said the duchess, 'I 
should be quite happy.' 

'Don't be uneasy,' said Lord Eskdale; 'there will 
be plenty of Katherines and Constances, too, before 
he finishes. The affair is not much, but it shows, as 
I foretold, that, the moment he found something 
more amusing, his taste for yachting would pass off.' 
'You are right, you always are.' 
What really was this affair, which Lord Eskdale 
held lightly ? With a character like Tancred, every- 
thing may become important. Profound and yet 
simple, deep in self-knowledge yet inexperienced, his 
reserve, which would screen him from a thousand 

(•37) 



138 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

dangers, was just the quality which would insure his 
thraldom by the individual who could once effectually 
melt the icy barrier and reach the central heat. At 
this moment of his life, with all the repose, and 
sometimes even the high ceremony, on the surface, 
he was a being formed for high-reaching exploits, 
ready to dare everything and reckless of all conse- 
quences, if he proposed to himself an object which 
he believed to be just and great. This temper of 
mind would, in all things, have made him act with 
that rapidity, which is rashness with the weak, and 
decision with the strong. The influence of woman 
on him was novel. It was a disturbing influence, on 
which he had never counted in those dreams and 
visions in which there had figured more heroes than 
heroines. In the imaginary interviews in which he 
had disciplined his solitary mind, his antagonists had 
been statesmen, prelates, sages, and senators, with 
whom he struggled and whom he vanquished. 

He was not unequal in practice to his dreams. 
His shyness would have vanished in an instant before 
a great occasion; he could have addressed a public 
assembly; he was capable of transacting important af- 
fairs. These were all situations and contingencies 
which he had foreseen, and which for him were not 
strange, for he had become acquainted with them in 
his reveries. But suddenly he was arrested by an in- 
fluence for which he was unprepared; a precious 
stone made him stumble who was to have scaled the 
Alps. Why should the voice, the glance, of another 
agitate his heart ? The cherubim of his heroic thoughts 
not only deserted him, but he was left without the 
guardian angel of his shyness. He melted, and the 
iceberg might degenerate into a puddle. 



TANCRED 139 

Lord Eskdale drew his conclusions like a clever 
man of the world, and in general he would have 
been right; but a person like Tancred was in much 
greater danger of being captured than a common- 
place youth entering life with second-hand experience, 
and living among those who ruled his opinions by 
their sneers and sarcasms. A malicious tale by a 
spiteful woman, the chance ribaldry of a club-room 
window, have often been the impure agencies which 
have saved many a youth from committing a great 
folly; but Tancred was beyond all these influences. 
If they had been brought to bear on him, they would 
rather have precipitated the catastrophe. His imagina- 
tion would have immediately been summoned to the 
rescue of his offended pride; he would have invested the 
object of his regard with supernatural qualities, and 
consoled her for the impertinence of society by his 
devotion. 

Lady Constance was clever; she talked like a mar- 
ried woman, was critical, yet easy; and having gua- 
noed her mind by reading French novels, had a 
variety of conclusions on all social topics, which she 
threw forth with unfaltering promptness, and with 
the well-arranged air of an impromptu. These were 
all new to Tancred, and startling. He was attracted 
by the brilliancy, though he often regretted the tone, 
which he ascribed to the surrounding corruption from 
which he intended to escape, and almost wished to 
save her at the same time. Sometimes Tancred 
looked unusually serious; but at last his rare and bril- 
liant smile beamed upon one who really admired him, 
was captivated by his intellect, his freshness, his differ- 
ence from all around, his pensive beauty and his 
grave innocence. Lady Constance was free from 



I40 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

affectation; she was frank and natural; she did not 
conceal the pleasure she had in his society; she 
conducted herself with that dignified facility, be- 
coming a young lady who had already refused the 
hands of two future earls, and of the heir of the 
Clan-Alpins. 

A short time after the d^jetlner at Craven Cottage, 
Lord Montacute called on Lady Charmouth. She was 
at home, and received him with great cordiality, 
looking up from her frame of worsted work with a 
benign maternal expression; while Lady Constance, 
who was writing an urgent reply to a note that had 
just arrived, said rapidly some agreeable words of 
welcome, and continued her task. Tancred seated 
himself by the mother, made an essay in that small 
talk in which he was by no means practised, but 
Lady Charmouth helped him on without seeming to 
do so. The note was at length dispatched, Tancred 
of course still remaining at the mother's side, and Lady 
Constance too distant for his wishes. He had noth- 
ing to say to Lady Charmouth; he began to feel that 
the pleasure of feminine society consisted in talking 
alone to her daughter. 

While he was meditating a retreat, and yet had 
hardly courage to rise and walk alone down a large 
long room, a new guest was announced. Tancred 
rose, and murmured good-morning; and yet, some- 
how or other, instead of quitting the apartment, he 
went and seated himself by Lady Constance. It really 
was as much the impulse of shyness, which sought a 
nook of refuge, as any other feeling that actuated 
him; but Lady Constance seemed pleased, and said in 
a low voice and in a careless tone, "Tis Lady Bran- 
cepeth; do you know her? Mamma's great friend;' 



TANCRED 141 

which meant, you need give yourself no trouble to 
talk to any one but myself. 

After making herself very agreeable, Lady Con- 
stance took up a book which was at hand, and said, 
'Do you know this?' And Tancred, opening a vol- 
ume which he had never seen, and then turning to 
its titlepage, found it was 'The Revelations of Chaos,' 
a startling work just published, and of which a 
rumour had reached him. 

'No,' he replied; '1 have not seen it.' 

'I will lend it you if you like: it is one of those 
books one must read. It explains everything, and is 
written in a very agreeable style.' 

'It explains everything!' said Tancred; 'it must, 
indeed, be a very remarkable book!' 

'I think it will just suit you,' said Lady Constance. 
'Do you know, I thought so several times while I 
was reading it.' 

'To judge from the title, the subject is rather ob- 
scure,' said Tancred. 

'No longer so,' said Lady Constance. 'It is treated 
scientifically; everything is explained by geology and 
astronomy, and in that way. It shows you exactly 
how a star is formed; nothing can be so pretty! A 
cluster of vapour, the cream of the Milky Way, a sort 
of celestial cheese, churned into light, you must read 
it, 'tis charming.' 

'Nobody ever saw a star formed,' said Tancred. 

'Perhaps not. You must read the "Revelations;" 
it is all explained. But what is most interesting, is 
the way in which man has been developed. You know, 
all is development. The principle is perpetually go- 
ing on. First, there was nothing, then there was 
something; then, I forget the next, I think there were 



142 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

shells, then fishes; then we came, let me see, did we 
come next? Never mind that; we came at last. And 
the next change there will be something very su- 
perior to us, something with wings. Ah! that's it: 
we were fishes, and I believe we shall be crows. 
But you must read it.' 

' I do not believe I ever was a fish,' said Tancred. 

'Oh! but it is all proved; you must not argue on 
my rapid sketch; read the book. It is impossible to 
contradict anything in it. You understand, it is all 
science; it is not like those books in which one says 
one thing and another the contrary, and both may be 
wrong. Everything is proved: by geology, you know. 
You see exactly how everything is made; how many 
worlds there have been; how long they lasted; what 
went before, what comes next. We are a link in the 
chain, as inferior animals were that preceded us: we 
in turn shall be inferior; all that will remain of us 
will be some relics in a new red sandstone. This is 
development. We had fins; we may have wings.' 

Tancred grew silent and thoughtful; Lady Bran- 
cepeth moved, and he rose at the same time. Lady 
Charmouth looked as if it were by no means neces- 
sary for him to depart, but he bowed very low, and 
then bade farewell to Lady Constance, who said, 'We 
shall meet to-night.' 

'I was a fish, and I shall be a crow,' said Tan- 
cred to himself, when the hall door closed on him. 
'What a spiritual mistress! And yesterday, for a mo- 
ment, I almost dreamed of kneeling with her at the 
Holy Sepulchre! I must get out of this city as quickly 
as possible; I cannot cope with its corruption. The 
acquaintance, however, has been of use to me, for I 
think I have got a yacht by it. I believe it was 



TANCRED 143 

providential, and a trial. I will go home and write 
instantly to Fitz-Heron, and accept his offer. One 
hundred and eighty tons: it will do; it must.' 

At this moment he met Lord Eskdale, who had 
observed Tancred from the end of Grosvenor Square, 
on the steps of Lord Charmouth's door. This cir- 
cumstance ill prepared Lord Eskdale for Tancred's 
salutation. 

' My dear lord, you are just the person I wanted 
to meet. You promised to recommend me a servant 
who had travelled in the East.' 

' Well, are you in a hurry ? ' said Lord Eskdale, 
gaining time, and pumping. 

'I should like to get off as soon as practicable.' 

'Humph!' said Lord Eskdale. 'Have you got a 
yacht?' 

'I have.' 

'Oh! So you want a servant?' he added, after a 
moment's pause. 

'I mentioned that, because you were so kind as to 
say you could help me in that respect.' 

'Ah! I did,' said Lord Eskdale, thoughtfully. 

'But I want a great many things,' continued Tan- 
cred. 'I must make arrangements about money; I 
suppose 1 must get some letters; in fact, I want gen- 
erally your advice.' 

'What are you going to do about the colonel and 
the rest?' 

'I have promised my father to take them,' said 
Tancred, ' though 1 feel they will only embarrass 
me. They have engaged to be ready at a week's 
notice; 1 shall write to them immediately, if they 
do not fulfil their engagement, I am absolved from 



144 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'So you have got a yacht, eh?' said Lord Eskdale. 
'I suppose you have bought the Basilisk?' 

'Exactly.' 

'She wants a good deal doing to her.' 

'Something, but chiefly for show, which I do not 
care about; but I mean to get away, and refit, if 
necessary, at Gibraltar. I must go.' 

'Well, if you must go,' said his lordship, and then 
he added, 'and in such a hurry; let me see. You 
want a firstrate managing man, used to the East, and 
letters, and money, and advice. Hem! You don't 
know Sidonia?' 

'Not at all.' 

' He is the man to get hold of, but that is so diffi- 
cult now. He never goes anywhere. Let me see, 
this is Monday; to-morrow is post-day, and I dine 
with him alone in the City. Well, you shall hear 
from me on Wednesday morning early, about every- 
thing; but 1 would not write to the colonel and his 
friends just yet.' 





CHAPTER XVI. 

Tancred Rescues a Lady in 
Distress. 

HAT is most striking in London is 
its vastness. It is the illimitable 
feeling that gives it a special char- 
acter. London is not grand. It 
possesses only one of the qualifica- 
tions of a grand city, size; but it 
wants the equally important one, beauty. It is the union 
of these two qualities that produced the grand cities, 
the Romes, the Babylons, the hundred portals of the 
Pharaohs; multitudes and magnificence; the millions 
influenced by art. Grand cities are unknown since 
the beautiful has ceased to be the principle of inven- 
tion. Paris, of modern capitals, has aspired to this 
character; but if Paris be a beautiful city, it certainly 
is not a grand one; its population is too limited, and, 
from the nature of their dwellings, they cover a com- 
paratively small space. Constantinople is picturesque; 
nature has furnished a sublime site, but it has little 
architectural splendour, and you reach the environs 
with a fatal facility. London overpowers us with its 
vastness. 

Place a Forum or an Acropolis in its centre, and 
the effect of the metropolitan mass, which now has 

('45) 



146 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

neither head nor heart, instead of being stupefying, 
would be ennobling. Nothing more completely repre- 
sents a nation than a public building. A member of 
Parliament only represents, at the most, the united 
constituencies: but the Palace of the Sovereign, a 
National Gallery, or a Museum baptised with the 
name of the country, these are monuments to which 
all should be able to look up with pride, and which 
should exercise an elevating influence upon the spirit 
of the humblest. What is their influence in London? 
Let us not criticise what all condemn. But how 
remedy the evil? What is wanted in architecture, as 
in so many things, is a man. Shall we find a refuge 
in a Committee of Taste ? Escape from the mediocrity 
of one to the mediocrity of many ? We only multiply 
our feebleness, and aggravate our deficiencies. But 
one suggestion might be made. No profession in 
England has done its duty until it has furnished its 
victim. The pure administration of justice dates from 
the deposition of Macclesfield. Even our boasted navy 
never achieved a great victory until we shot an ad- 
miral. Suppose an architect were hanged? Terror 
has its inspiration as well as competition. 

Though London is vast, it is very monotonous. 
All those new districts that have sprung up within 
the last half-century, the creatures of our commercial 
and colonial wealth, it is impossible to conceive any- 
thing more tame, more insipid, more uniform. Pan- 
eras is like Mary-le-bone, Mary-le-bone is like 
Paddington; all the streets resemble each other, you 
must read the names of the squares before you ven- 
ture to knock at a door. This amount of building 
capital ought to have produced a great city. What 
an opportunity for architecture suddenly summoned 



TANCRED 147 

to furnish habitations for a population equal to that 
of the city of Bruxelles, and a population, too, of 
great wealth. Mary-le-bone alone ought to have pro- 
duced a revolution in our domestic architecture. It 
did nothing. It was built by Act of Parliament. Par- 
liament prescribed even a facade. It is Parliament to 
whom we are indebted for your Gloucester Places, 
and Baker Streets, and Harley Streets, and Wimpole 
Streets, and all those flat, dull, spiritless streets, re- 
sembling each other like a large family of plain chil- 
dren, with Portland Place and Portman Square for 
their respectable parents. The influence of our Parlia- 
mentary Government upon the fine arts is a subject 
worth pursuing. The power that produced Baker 
Street as a model for street architecture in its cele- 
brated Building Act, is the power that prevented 
Whitehall from being completed, and which sold to 
foreigners all the pictures which the King of England 
had collected to civilise his people. 

In our own days we have witnessed the rapid 
creation of a new metropolitan quarter, built solely 
for the aristocracy by an aristocrat. The Belgrave dis- 
trict is as monotonous as Mary-le-bone; and is so 
contrived as to be at the same time insipid and tawdry. 

Where London becomes more interesting is Char- 
ing Cross. Looking to Northumberland House, and 
turning your back upon Trafalgar Square, the Strand 
is perhaps the finest street in Europe, blending the 
architecture of many periods; and its river ways are 
a peculiar feature and rich with associations. Fleet 
Street, with its Temple, is not unworthy of being 
contiguous to the Strand. The fire of London has 
deprived us of the delight of a real old quarter of the 
city; but some bits remain, and everywhere there is 



148 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

a stirring multitude, and a great crush and crash of 
carts and wains. The Inns of Court, and the quarters 
in the vicinity of the port, Thames Street, Tower 
Hill, Billingsgate, Wapping, Rotherhithe, are the best 
parts of London; they are full of character: the build- 
ings bear a nearer relation to what the people are 
doing than in the more polished quarters. 

The old merchants of the times of the first Georges 
were a fine race. They knew their position, and 
built up to it. While the territorial aristocracy, pull- 
ing down their family hotels, were raising vulgar 
streets and squares upon their site, and occupying 
themselves one of the new tenements, the old mer- 
chants filled the straggling lanes, which connected 
the Royal Exchange with the port of London, with 
mansions which, if not exactly equal to the palaces 
of stately Venice, might at least vie with many of the 
hotels of old Paris. Some of these, though the great 
majority have been broken up into chambers and 
counting-houses, still remain intact. 

In a long, dark, narrow, crooked street, which is 
still called a lane, and which runs from the south 
side of the street of the Lombards towards the river, 
there is one of these old houses of a century past, 
and which, both in its original design and present 
condition, is a noble specimen of its order. A pair 
of massy iron gates, of elaborate workmanship, sepa- 
rate the street from its spacious and airy court-yard, 
which is formed on either side by a wing of the 
mansion, itself a building of deep red brick, with a 
pediment, and pilasters, and copings of stone. A 
flight of steps leads to the lofty and central doorway; 
in the middle of the court there is a garden plot, in- 
closing a fountain, and a fine plane tree. 



TANCRED 149 

The stillness, doubly effective after the tumult just 
quitted, the lulling voice of the water, the soothing 
aspect of the quivering foliage, the noble building, 
and the cool and capacious quadrangle, the aspect 
even of those who enter, and frequently enter, the 
precinct, and who are generally young men, gliding 
in and out, earnest and full of thought, all contribute 
to give to this locality something of the classic repose 
of a college, instead of a place agitated with the most 
urgent interests of the current hour; a place that deals 
with the fortunes of kings and empires, and regulates 
the most important affairs of nations, for it is the 
counting-house in the greatest of modern cities of the 
most celebrated of modern financiers. 

It was the visit of Tancred to the City, on the 
Wednesday morning after he had met Lord Eskdale, 
that occasions me to touch on some of the character- 
istics of our capital. It was the first time that Tan- 
cred had ever been in the City proper, and it greatly 
interested him. His visit was prompted by receiving, 
early on Wednesday morning, the following letter: 

'Dear Tancred: I saw Sidonia yesterday, and 
spoke to him of what you want. He is much oc- 
cupied just now, as his uncle, who attended to affairs 
here, is dead, and, until he can import another uncle 
or cousin, he must steer the ship, as times are critical. 
But he bade me say you might call upon him in the 
City to-day, at two o'clock. He lives in Sequin Court, 
near the Bank. You will have no difficulty in finding 
it. I recommend you to go, as he is the sort of man 
who will really understand what you mean, which 
neither your father nor myself do exactly; and, be- 
sides, he is a person to know. 



I50 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'\ enclose a line which you will send in, that there 
may be no mistake. I should tell you, as you are 
very fresh, that he is of the Hebrew race; so don't 
go on too much about the Holy Sepulchre. 

'Yours faithfully, 

' ESKDALE. 

'Spring Gardens, Wednesday morning.' 

It is just where the street is most crowded, where 
it narrows, and losing the name of Cheapside, takes 
that of the Poultry, that the last of a series of stop- 
pages occurred; a stoppage which, at the end of ten 
minutes, lost its inert character of mere obstruction, 
and developed into the livelier qualities of the row. 
There were oaths, contradictions, menaces: 'No, you 
sha'n't; Yes, 1 will; No, I didn't; Yes, you did; No, 
you haven't; Yes, I have;' the lashing of a whip, the 
interference of a policeman, a crash, a scream. Tan- 
cred looked out of the window of his brougham. He 
saw a chariot in distress, a chariot such as would have 
become an Ondine by the waters of the Serpentine, 
and the very last sort of equipage that you could ex- 
pect to see smashed in the Poultry. It was really 
breaking a butterfly upon a wheel to crush its deli- 
cate springs, and crack its dark brown panels, soil its 
dainty hammer-cloth, and endanger the lives of its 
young coachman in a flaxen wig, and its two tall 
footmen in short coats, worthy of Cinderella. 

The scream, too, came from a fair owner, who 
was surrounded by clamorous carmen and city mar- 
shals, and who, in an unknown land, was afraid she 
might be put in a city compter, because the people 
in the city had destroyed her beautiful chariot. Tan- 
cred let himself out of his brougham, and not with- 



d 



TANCRED 151 

out difficulty contrived, tiirough the narrow and 
crowded passage formed by the two lines, to reach 
the chariot, which was coming the contrary way to 
him. Some ruthless officials were persuading a beau- 
tiful woman to leave her carriage, the wheel of which 
was broken. ' But where am 1 to go.?' she exclaimed. 
' 1 cannot walk. 1 will not leave my carriage until 
you bring me some conveyance. You ought to pun- 
ish these people, who have quite ruined my chariot.' 

'They say it was your coachman's fault; we have 
nothing to do with that; besides, you know who 
they are. Their employers' name is on the cart. 
Brown, Bugsby, and Co., Limehouse. You can have 
your redress against Brown, Bugsby, and Co., Lime- 
house, if your coachman is not in fault; but you can- 
not stop up the way, and you had better get out, and 
let the carriage be removed to the Steel-yard.' 

'What am 1 to do?' exclaimed the lady with a 
tearful eye and agitated face. 

'I have a carriage at hand,' said Tancred, who at 
this moment reached her, 'and it is quite at your 
service.' 

The lady cast her beautiful eyes, with an expres- 
sion of astonishment she could not conceal, at the 
distinguished youth who thus suddenly appeared in 
the midst of insolent carmen, brutal policemen, and all 
the cynical amateurs of a mob. Public opinion in the 
Poultry was against her; her coachman's wig had ex- 
cited derision; the footmen had given themselves airs; 
there was a strong feeling against the shortcoats. As 
for the lady, though at first awed by her beauty and 
magnificence, they rebelled against the authority of 
her manner. Besides, she was not alone. There was 
a gentleman with her, who wore moustaches, and 

15 B. D.-23 



152 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

had taken a part in the proceedings at first, by address- 
ing the carmen in French, This was too much, and 
the mob declared he was Don Carlos. 

'You are too good,' said the lady, with a sweet 
expression. 

Tancred opened the door of the chariot, the po- 
licemen pulled down the steps, the servants were 
told to do the best they could with the wrecked 
equipage; in a second the lady and her companion 
were in Tancred's brougham, who, desiring his serv- 
ants to obey all their orders, disappeared, for the 
stoppage at this moment began to move, and there 
was no time for bandying compliments. 

He had gained the pavement, and had made his 
way as far as the Mansion House, when, finding a 
group of public buildings, he thought it prudent to 
inquire which was the Bank. 

'That is the Bank,' said a good-natured man, in a 
bustle, but taken by Tancred's unusual appearance. 
'What do you want? 1 am going there.' 

M do not want exactly the Bank,' replied Tancred, 
'but a place somewhere near it. Do you happen to 
know, sir, a place called Sequin Court?' 

M should think I did,' said the man, smiling, 'So 
you are going to Sidonia's?' 




FROM AN OKIC.INAI. DRAWING BY HERMAN ROUNTREE 



Taiiiii'il opened the door of the ,-hanot. 

iSee page iS2.> 



I 



■'h^' 




hr;ur uyh/ rifJ^, Av /^ Wa^Urj 



CHAPTER XVII. 




The Wizard of Fortune. 

ANCRED entered Sequin Court; a 
chariot witii a foreign coronet was 
at tile foot of tile great steps wliicli 
lie ascended. He was received 
by a fat liall porter, wlio would 
not have disgraced his father's es- 
tablishment, and who, rising with lazy insolence from 
his hooded chair, when he observed that Tancred did 
not advance, asked the new comer what he wanted. 
'1 want Monsieur de Sidonia.' 
'Can't see him now; he is engaged.' 
M have a note for him.' 

'Very well, give it me; it will be sent in. You 
can sit here.' And the porter opened the door of a 
waiting-room, which Tancred declined to enter. ' I 
will wait here, thank you,' said Tancred, and he 
looked round at the old oak hall, on the walls of 
which were hung several portraits, and from which 
ascended one of those noble staircases never found in 
a modern London mansion. At the end of the hall, 
on a slab of porphyry, was a marble bust, with this 
inscription on it, 'Fundator.' It was the first Si- 
donia, by Chantrey. 

(>53) 



154 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'I will wait here, thank you,' said Tancred, look- 
ing round; and then, with some hesitation, he added, 
'I have an appointment here at two o'clock.' 

As he spoke, that hour sounded from the belfry of 
an old city church that was at hand, and then was 
taken up by the chimes of a large German clock in 
the hall. 

'It may be,' said the porter, 'but I can't disturb 
master now; the Spanish ambassador is with him, 
and others are waiting. When he is gone, a clerk 
will take in your letter with some others that are 
here.' 

At this moment, and while Tancred remained in 
the hall, various persons entered, and, without no- 
ticing the porter, pursued their way across the apart- 
ment. 

'And where are those persons going?' inquired 
Tancred. 

The porter looked at the enquirer with a blended 
gaze of curiosity and contempt, and then negligently 
answered him without looking in Tancred's face, and 
while he was brushing up the hearth, ' Some are go- 
ing to the counting-house, and some are going to 
the Bank, I should think.' 

'I wonder if our hall porter is such an infernal 
bully as Monsieur de Sidonia's!' thought Tancred. 

There was a stir, ' The ambassador is coming 
out,' said the hall porter; 'you must not stand in 
the way.' 

The well-trained ear of this guardian of the gate 
was conversant with every combination of sound 
which the apartments of Sequin Court could produce. 
Close as the doors might be shut, you could not rise 
from your chair without his being aware of it; and 



TANCRED 



^SS 



in the present instance he was correct. A door at 
the end of the hail opened, and the Spanish minister 
came forth. 

'Stand aside,' said the hall porter to Tancred; 
and, summoning the servants without, he ushered his 
excellency with some reverence to his carriage. 

'Now your letter will go in with the others,' he 
said to Tancred, whom for a few moments he left 
alone, and then returned, taking no notice of our 
young friend, but, depositing his bulky form in his 
hooded chair, he resumed the city article of the 
Times. 

The letter ran thus: 

'Dear Sidonia: This will be given you by my 
cousin Montacute, of whom 1 spoke to you yester- 
day. He wants to go to Jerusalem, which very 
much perplexes his family, for he is an only child. 
1 don't suppose the danger is what they imagine. 
But still there is nothing like experience, and there 
is no one who knows so much of these things as 
yourself. I have promised his father and mother, 
very innocent people, whom of all my relatives, I 
most affect, to do what I can for him. If, therefore, 
you can aid Montacute, you will really serve me. 
He seems to have character, though I can't well 
make him out. I fear I indulged in the hock yester- 
day, for I feel a twinge. Yours faithfully, 

' ESKDALE. 

'Wednesday morning.' 

The hall clock had commenced the quarter chimes, 
when a young man, fair and intelligent, and wearing 
spectacles, came into the hall, and, opening the door 



156 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

of the waiting-room, looked as if he expected to 
find some one there; then, turning to the porter, he 
said, ' Where is Lord Montacute ? ' 

The porter rose from his hooded chair, and put 
down the newspaper, but Tancred had advanced 
when he heard his name, and bowed, and followed 
the young man in spectacles, who invited Tancred to 
accompany him. 

Tancred was ushered into a spacious and rather 
long apartment, panelled with old oak up to the 
white coved ceiling, which was richly ornamented. 
Four windows looked upon the fountain and the 
plane tree. A portrait by Lawrence, evidently of the 
same individual who had furnished the model to 
Chantrey, was over the high, old-fashioned, but very 
handsome marble mantel-piece. A Turkey carpet, 
curtains of crimson damask, some large tables cov- 
ered with papers, several easy chairs, against the 
walls some iron cabinets, these were the furniture of 
the room, at one corner of which was a glass door, 
which led to a vista of apartments fitted up as count- 
ing-houses, filled with clerks, and which, if expe- 
dient, might be covered by a baize screen, which 
was now unclosed. 

A gentleman writing at a table rose as he came 
in, and extending his hand said, as he pointed to a 
seat, ' I am afraid I have made you come out at an 
unusual hour.' 

The young man in spectacles in the meanwhile re- 
tired; Tancred had bowed and murmured his compli- 
ments: and his host, drawing his chair a little from 
the table, continued: 'Lord Eskdale tells me that you 
have some thoughts of going to Jerusalem.' 

M have for some time had that intention.' 



TANCRED 157 

'It is a pity that you did not set out earlier in 
the year, and then you might have been there during 
the Easter pilgrimage. It is a fine sight.' 

'It is a pity,' said Tancred; 'but to reach Jeru- 
salem is with me an object of so much moment, that 
I shall be content to find myself there at any time, 
and under any circumstances.' 

'It is no longer difficult to reach Jerusalem; the 
real difficulty is the one experienced by the crusaders, 
to know what to do when you have arrived there.' 

'It is the land of inspiration,' said Tancred, slightly 
blushing; 'and when I am there, I would humbly 
pray that my course may be indicated to me.' 

'And you think that no prayers, however humble, 
would obtain for you that indication before your de- 
parture ? ' 

'This is not the land of inspiration,' replied Tan- 
cred, timidly. 

'But you have your Church,' said Sidonia. 

' Which I hold of divine institution, and which 
should be under the immediate influence of the Holy 
Spirit,' said Tancred, dropping his eyes, and colouring 
still more as he found himself already trespassing on 
that delicate province of theology which always fas- 
cinated him, but which it had been intimated to 
him by Lord Eskdale that he should avoid. 

'Is it wanting to you, then, in this conjuncture?' 
inquired his companion. 

' I find its opinions conflicting, its decrees con- 
tradictory, its conduct inconsistent,' replied Tancred. 
' I have conferred with one who is esteemed its most 
eminent prelate, and I have left him with a conviction 
of what I had for some time suspected, that inspira- 
tion is not only a divine but a local quality.' 



158 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'You and I have some reason to believe so,' said 
Sidonia. ' I believe that God spoke to Moses on 
Mount Horeb, and you believe that he was crucified, 
in the person of Jesus, on Mount Calvary. Both 
were, at least carnally, children of Israel: they spoke 
Hebrew to the Hebrews. The prophets were only 
Hebrews; the apostles were only Hebrews. The 
churches of Asia, which have vanished, were founded 
by a native Hebrew; and the church of Rome, which 
says it shall last for ever, and which converted this 
island to the faith of Moses and of Christ, vanquish- 
ing the Druids, Jupiter Olympius, and Woden, who 
had successively invaded it, was also founded by a 
native Hebrew. Therefore, I say, your suspicion or 
your conviction is, at least, not a fantastic one.' 

Tancred listened to Sidonia as he spoke with great 
interest, and with an earnest and now quite unem- 
barrassed manner. The height of the argument had 
immediately surmounted all his social reserve. His 
intelligence responded to the great theme that had so 
long occupied his musing hours; and the unexpected 
character of a conversation which, as he had sup- 
posed, would have mainly treated of letters of credit, 
the more excited him. 

'Then,' said Tancred, with animation, 'seeing 
how things are, that I am born in an age and in a 
country divided between infidelity on one side and 
an anarchy of creeds on the other; with none compe- 
tent to guide me, yet feeling that I must believe, for I 
hold that duty cannot exist without faith; is it so wild 
as some would think it, 1 would say is it unreasonable, 
that 1 should wish to do that which, six centuries ago, 
was done by my ancestor whose name I bear, and 
that 1 should cross the seas, and ?' He hesitated. 



TANCRED 159 

'And visit the Holy Sepulchre,' said Sidonia. 

'And visit the Holy Sepulchre,' said Tancred, 
solemnly; 'for that, I confess, is my sovereign thought.' 

' Well, the crusades were of vast advantage to 
Europe,' said Sidonia, 'and renovated the spiritual 
hold which Asia has always had upon the North. It 
seems to wane at present, but it is only the decrease 
that precedes the new development.' 

'It must be so,' said Tancred; 'for who can be- 
lieve that a country once sanctified by the Divine 
Presence can ever be as other lands? Some celestial 
quality, distinguishing it from all other climes, must 
for ever linger about it. I would ask those moun- 
tains, that were reached by angels, why they no 
longer receive heavenly visitants. I would appeal to 
that Comforter promised to man, on the sacred spot 
on which the assurance of solace was made. I re- 
quire a Comforter. I have appealed to the holy in- 
fluence in vain in England. It has not visited me; I 
know none here on whom it has descended. I am 
induced, therefore, to believe that it is part of the di- 
vine scheme that its influence should be local; that it 
should be approached with reverence, not thought- 
lessly and hurriedly, but with such difficulties and 
such an interval of time as a pilgrimage to a spot 
sanctified can alone secure.' 

Sidonia listened to Tancred with deep attention. 
Lord Montacute was seated opposite the windows, so 
that there was a full light upon the play of the coun- 
tenance, the expression of which Sidonia watched, 
while his keen and far-reaching vision traced at the 
same time the formation and development of the head 
of his visitor. He recognised in this youth not a vain 
and vague visionary, but a being in whom the facul- 



i6o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ties of reason and imagination were both of the high- 
est class, and both equally developed. He observed 
that he was of a nature passionately affectionate, 
and that he was of a singular audacity. He perceived 
that though, at this moment, Tancred was as igno- 
rant of the world as a young monk, he possessed all 
the latent qualities which in future would qualify him 
to control society. When Tancred had finished speak- 
ing, there was a pause of a few seconds, during 
which Sidonia seemed lost in thought; then, looking up, 
he said, ' It appears to me. Lord Montacute, that what 
you want is to penetrate the great Asian mystery.' 

'You have touched my inmost thought,' said Tan- 
cred, eagerly. 

At this moment there entered the room, from the 
glass door, the same young man who had ushered 
Tancred into the apartment. He brought a letter to 
Sidonia. Lord Montacute felt confused; his shyness 
returned to him; he deplored the unfortunate inter- 
ruption, but he felt he was in the way. He rose, 
and began to say good-morning, when Sidonia, with- 
out taking his eyes off the letter, saw him, and wav- 
ing his hand, stopped him, saying, 'I settled with 
Lord Eskdale that you were not to go away if any- 
thing occurred which required my momentary atten- 
tion. So pray sit down, unless you have engagements.' 
And Tancred again seated himself. 

'Write,' continued Sidonia to the clerk, 'that my 
letters are twelve hours later than the despatches, and 
that the City continued quite tranquil. Let the ex- 
tract from the Berlin letter be left at the same time 
at the Treasury. The last bulletin?' 

'Consols drooping at half-past two; all the foreign 
funds lower; shares very active.' 



TANCRED i6i 

They were once more alone. 

'When do you propose going?' 

* I hope in a week.' 

'Alone.?' 

*I fear I shall have many attendants.* 

'That is a pity. Well, when you arrive at Jeru- 
salem, you will naturally go to the convent of Terra 
Santa. You will make there the acquaintance of the 
Spanish prior, Alonzo Lara. He calls me cousin; he 
is a Nuevo of the fourteenth century. Very orthodox; 
but the love of the old land and the old language 
have come out in him, as they will, though his blood 
is no longer clear, but has been modified by many 
Gothic intermarriages, which was never our case. 
We are pure Sephardim. Lara thoroughly compre- 
hends Palestine and all that pertains to it. He has 
been there a quarter of a century, and might have 
been Archbishop of Seville. You see, he is master of 
the old as well as the new learning; this is very im- 
portant; they often explain each other. Your bishops 
here know nothing about these things. How can 
they ? A few centuries back they were tattooed sav- 
ages. This is the advantage which Rome has over 
you, and which you never can understand. That 
Church was founded by a Hebrew, and the magnetic 
influence lingers. But you will go to the fountain 
head. Theology requires an apprenticeship of some 
thousand years at least; to say nothing of clime and 
race. You cannot get on with theology as you do 
with chemistry and mechanics. Trust me, there is 
something deeper in it. 1 shall give you a note to 
Lara; cultivate him, he is the man you want. You 
will want others; they will come; but Lara has the 
first key.' 



i62 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'I am sorry to trouble you about such things,' said 
Tancred, in a hesitating voice, 'but perhaps I may 
not have the great pleasure to see you again, and 
Lord Eskdale said that I was to speak to you about 
some letters of credit.' 

'Oh! we shall meet before you go. But what you 
say reminds me of something. As for money, there 
is only one banker in Syria; he is everywhere, at 
Aleppo, Damascus, Beiroot, Jerusalem. It is Besso. 
Before the expulsion of the Egyptians, he really ruled 
Syria, but he is still powerful, though they have en- 
deavoured to crush him at Constantinople. 1 applied 
to Metternich about him, and, besides that, he is mine. 
I shall give you a letter to him, but not merely for 
your money affairs. I wish you to know him. He 
lives in splendour at Damascus, moderately at Jeru- 
salem, where there is little to do, but which he loves 
as a residence, being a Hebrew. 1 wish you to know 
him. You will, I am sure, agree with me, that he is, 
without exception, the most splendid specimen of the 
animal man you ever became acquainted with. His 
name is Adam, and verily he looks as if he were in 
the garden of Eden before the fall. But his soul is as 
grand and as fine as his body. You will lean upon this 
man as you would on a faithful charger. His divan 
is charming; you will always find there the most in- 
telligent people. You must learn to smoke. There is 
nothing that Besso cannot do; make him do every- 
thing you want; have no scruples; he will be grati- 
fied. Besides, he is one of those who kiss my signet. 
These two letters will open Syria to you, and any 
other land, if you care to proceed. Give yourself no 
trouble about any other preparations.' 

'And how am 1 to thank you.?' said Tancred, ris- 



TANCRED 163 

ing; 'and how am 1 to express to you all my grati- 
tude?' 

' What are you going to do with yourself to-mor- 
row?' said Sidonia. 'I never go anywhere; but I 
have a few friends who are so kind as to come some- 
times to me. There are two or three persons dining 
with me to-morrow, whom you might like to meet. 
Will you do so ?' 

'I shall be most proud and pleased.' 

'That's well. It is not here; it is in Carlton Gar- 
dens; at sunset.' And Sidonia continued the letter 
which he was writing when Tancred entered. 





CHAPTER XVIII. 

An Interesting Rencontre. 

HENTancred returned home, musing, 
from a visit to Sidonia, he found the 
following note: 

' Lady Bertie and Bellair returns 

Lord Montacute his carriage with a 

thousand compliments and thanks. She fears she greatly 

incommoded Lord Montacute, but begs to assure him 

how very sensible she is of his considerate courtesy. 

'Upper Brook Street, Wednesday.' 

The handwriting was of that form of scripture 
which attracts; refined yet energetic; full of charac- 
ter. Tancred recognised the titles of Bertie and Bel- 
lair as those of two not inconsiderable earldoms, now 
centred in the same individual. Lady Bertie and Bel- 
lair was herself a lady of the high nobility; a daugh- 
ter of the present Duke of Fitz-Aquitaine; the son of 
that duke who was the father-in-law of Lord de 
Mowbray, and whom Lady Firebrace, the present 
Lady Bardolf, and Tadpole, had dexterously converted 
to conservatism by persuading him that he was to be 
Sir Robert's Irish viceroy. Lady Bertie and Bellair, 
therefore, was first-cousin to Lady Joan Mountchesney, 
(164) 



TANCRED 165 

and her sister, who is still Lady Maud Fitz-Warene. 
Tancred was surprised that he never recollected to 
have met before one so distinguished and so beautiful. 
His conversation with Sidonia, however, had driven 
the little adventure of the morning from his memory, 
and now that it was thus recalled to him, he did not 
dwell upon it. His being was absorbed in his para- 
mount purpose. The sympathy of Sidonia, so com- 
plete, and as instructive as it was animating, was a 
sustaining power which we often need when we are 
meditatmg great deeds. How often, when all seems 
dark, and hopeless, and spiritless, and tame, when 
slight obstacles figure in the cloudy landscape as Alps, 
and the rushing cataracts of our invention have sub- 
sided into drizzle, a single phrase of a great man 
instantaneously flings sunshine on the intellectual land- 
scape, and the habitual features of power and beauty, 
over which we have so long mused in secret confi- 
dence and love, resume all their energy and lustre. 

The haunting thought that occasionally, notwith- 
standing his strong will, would perplex the soul and 
agitate the heart of Tancred; the haunting thought 
that, all this time, he was perhaps the dupe of boyish 
fantasies, was laid to-day. Sometimes he had felt, 
Why does no one sympathise with my views; why, 
though they treat them with conventional respect, is 
it clear that all I have addressed hold them to be ab- 
surd ? My parents are pious and instructed; they are 
predisposed to view everything 1 say, or do, or think, 
with an even excessive favour. They think me 
moonstruck. Lord Eskdale is a perfect man of the 
world; proverbially shrewd, and celebrated for his 
judgment; he looks upon me as a raw boy, and be- 
lieves that, if my father had kept me at Eton and 



i66 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

sent me to Paris, I should by this time have ex- 
hausted my crudities. The bishop is what the world 
calls a great scholar; he is a statesman who, aloof 
from faction, ought to be accustomed to take just and 
comprehensive views; and a priest who ought to be 
under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit. He 
says 1 am a visionary. All this might well be dis- 
heartening; but now comes one whom no circum- 
stances impel to judge my project with indulgence; 
who would, at the first glance, appear to have many 
prejudices arrayed against it, who knows more of the 
world than Lord Eskdale, and who appears to me to 
be more learned than the whole bench of bishops, 
and he welcomes my ideas, approves my conclusions, 
sympathises with my suggestions; develops, illus- 
trates, enforces them; plainly intimates that 1 am only 
on the threshold of initiation, and would aid me to 
advance to the innermost mysteries. 

There was this night a great ball at Lady Bardolfs, 
in Belgrave Square. One should generally mention 
localities, because very often they indicate character. 
Lady Bardolf lived next door to Mrs. Guy Flouncey. 
Both had risen in the world, though it requires some 
esoteric knowledge to recognise the patrician par- 
venue; and both had finally settled themselves down 
in the only quarter which Lady Bardolf thought 
worthy of her new coronet, and Mrs. Guy Flouncey 
of her new visiting list. 

Lady Bardolf had given up the old f^imily mansion 
of the Firebraces in Hanover Square, at the same time 
that she had resigned their old title. Politics being 
dead, in consequence of the majority of 1841, who, 
after a little kicking for the million, satisfactorily as- 
sured the minister that there was no vice in them. 



TANCRED 167 

Lady Bardolf had chalked out a new career, and one 
of a still more eminent and exciting character than 
her previous pursuit. Lady Bardolf was one of those 
ladies — there are several — who entertain the curious 
idea that they need only to be known in certain high 
quarters to be immediately selected as the principal 
objects of court favour. Lady Bardolf was always 
putting herself in the way of it; she never lost an 
opportunity; she never missed a drawing-room, con- 
trived to be at all the court balls, plotted to be in- 
vited to a costume fete, and expended the tactics of 
a campaign to get asked to some grand chateau hon- 
oured by august presence. Still Her Majesty had not 
yet sent for Lady Bardolf. She was still very good 
friends with Lord Masque, for he had social influence, 
and could assist her; but as for poor Tadpole, she had 
sadly neglected him, his sphere being merely political, 
and that being no longer interesting. The honest 
gentleman still occasionally buzzed about her, slaver- 
ing portentous stories about malcontent country gen- 
tlemen, mumbling Maynooth, and shaking his head at 
Young England. Tadpole was wont to say in con- 
fidence, that for his part he wished Sir Robert had 
left alone religion and commerce, and confined him- 
self to finance, which was his forte as long as he had 
a majority to carry the projects which he found in 
the pigeon-holes of the Treasury, and which are al- 
ways at the service of every minister. 

Well, it was at Lady Bardolfs ball, close upon 
midnight, that Tancred, who had not long entered, 
and had not very far advanced in the crowded saloons, 
turning his head, recognised his heroine of the morn- 
ing, his still more recent correspondent, Lady Bertie 
and Bellair. She was speaking to Lord Valentine, It 

15 B. D.— 24 



i68 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

was impossible to mistake her; rapid as had been his 
former observation of her face, it was too remarkable 
to be forgotten, though the captivating details were 
only the result of his present more advantageous in- 
spection. A small head and large dark eyes, dark as 
her rich hair which was quite unadorned, a pale but 
delicate complexion, small pearly teeth, were charms 
that crowned a figure rather too much above the 
middle height, yet undulating and not without grace. 
Her countenance was calm without being grave; she 
smiled with her eyes. 

She was for a moment alone; she looked round, 
and recognised Tancred; she bowed to him with a 
beaming glance. Instantly he was at her side. 

'Our second meeting to-day,' she said, in a low, 
sweet voice. 

'How came it that we never met before.?' he re- 
plied. 

•1 have just returned from Paris; the first time 1 
have been out; and, had it not been for you,' she 
added, 'I should not have been here to-night. I 
think they would have put me in prison.' 

' Lady Bardolf ought to be very much obliged to 
me, and so ought the world.' 

'I am,' said Lady Bertie and Bellair. 

'That is worth everything else,' said Tancred. 

'What a pretty carriage you have! I do not think 
I shall ever get into mine again. I am almost glad 
they have destroyed my chariot. I am sure I shall 
never be able to drive in anything else now except a 
brougham.' 

'Why did you not keep mine?' 

'You are magnificent; too gorgeous and oriental 
for these cold climes. You shower your presents as 



TANCRED 169 

if you were in the East, which Lord Valentine tells 
me you are about to visit. When do you leave us?' 

M think of going immediately.' 

'Indeed!' said Lady Bertie and Bellair, and her 
countenance changed. There was a pause, and then 
she continued playfully, yet as it were half in sad- 
ness, ' I almost wish you had not come to my rescue 
this morning.' 

'And why?' 

' Because I do not like to make agreeable acquaint- 
ances only to lose them.' 

' 1 think that I am most to be pitied,' said Tancred. 

'You are wearied of the world very soon. Before 
you can know us, you leave us.' 

'1 am not wearied of the world, for indeed, as 
you say, 1 know nothing of it. I am here by acci- 
dent, as you were in the stoppage to-day. it will 
disperse, and then 1 shall get on.' 

' Lord Valentine tells me that you are going to real- 
ise my dream of dreams, that you are going to Jeru- 
salem.' 

'Ah!' said Tancred, kindling, 'you too have felt 
that want?' 

' But 1 never can pardon myself for not having 
satisfied it,' said Lady Bertie and Bellair in a mourn- 
ful tone, and looking in his face with her beautiful 
dark eyes. 'It is the mistake of my life, and now 
can never be remedied. But 1 have no energy. 1 
ought, as a girl, when they opposed my purpose, to 
have taken up my palmer's staff, and never have 
rested content till I had gathered my shell on the 
strand of Joppa.' 

'It is the right feeling ' said Tancred. '1 am per- 
suaded we ought all to go.' 



lyo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'But we remain here,' said the lady, in a tone of 
suppressed and elegant anguish; 'here, where we all 
complain of our hopeless lives; with not a thought 
beyond the passing hour, yet all bewailing its weari- 
some and insipid moments.' 

'Our lot is cast in a material age,' said Tancred. 

'The spiritual can alone satisfy me,' said Lady 
Bertie and Bellair. 

'Because you have a soul,' continued Tancred, 
with animation, 'still of a celestial hue. They are 
rare in the nineteenth century. Nobody now thinks 
about heaven. They never dream of angels. All their 
existence is concentrated in steamboats and railways.' 

'You are right,' said the lady, earnestly; 'and you 
fly from it.' 

'1 go for other purposes; I would say even higher 
ones,' said Tancred. 

'I can understand you; your feelings are my own. 
Jerusalem has been the dream of my life. I have al- 
ways been endeavouring to reach it, but somehow or 
other 1 never got further than Paris.' 

'And yet it is very easy now to get to Jerusalem,' 
said Tancred; 'the great difficulty, as a very remark- 
able man said to me this morning, is to know what 
to do when you are there.' 

'Who said that to you.^' inquired Lady Bertie and 
Bellair, bending her head. 

' It was the person I was going to call upon when 
I met you; Monsieur de Sidonia.' 

'Monsieur de Sidonia!' said the lady, with anima- 
tion. 'Ah! you know him.?' 

'Not as much as 1 could wish. I saw him to-day 
for the first time. My cousin, Lord Eskdale, gave me 
a letter of introduction to him, for his advice and as- 



TANCRED 171 

sistance about my journey. Sidonia has been a great 
traveller.' 

'There is no person 1 wish to know so much as 
M. de Sidonia,' said Lady Bertie and Bellair. ' He is a 
great friend of Lord Eskdale, I think.? I must get 
Lord Eskdale,' she added, musingly, 'to give me a 
little dinner, and ask M. de Sidonia to meet me.' 

'He never goes anywhere; at least I have heard 
so,' said Tancred. 

' He once used to do, and to give us great fetes. 
I remember hearing of them before I was out. We 
must make him resume them. He is immensely rich,' 

'I dare say he may be,' said Tancred. 'I wonder 
how a man with his intellect and ideas can think of 
the accumulation of wealth.' 

"Tis his destiny,' said Lady Bertie and Bellair. 
' He can no more disembarrass himself of his heredi- 
tary millions than a dynasty of the cares of empire. 
1 wonder if he will get the Great Northern. They 
talked of nothing else at Paris.' 

'Of what?' said Tancred. 

'Oh! let us talk of Jerusalem!' said Lady Bertie 
and Bellair. 'Ah, here is Augustus! Let me make 
you and my husband acquainted.' 

Tancred almost expected to see the moustached 
companion of the morning, but it was not so. Lord 
Bertie and Bellair was a tall, thin, distinguished, 
withered-looking young man, who thanked Tancred 
for his courtesy of the morning with a sort of gracious 
negligence, and, after some easy talk, asked Tancred 
to dine with them on the morrow. He was engaged, 
but he promised to call on Lady Bertie and Bellair 
immediately, and see some drawings of the Holy 
Land. 




CHAPTER XIX. 

Lord Henry Sympathises. 

ASSING through a marble ante- 
chamber, Tancred was ushered 
into an apartment half saloon and 
half library; the choicely-bound 
volumes, which were not too nu- 
merous, were ranged on shelves in- 
laid in the walls, so that they ornamented, without 
diminishing, the apartment. These walls were painted 
in encaustic, corresponding with the coved ceiling, 
which was richly adorned in the same fashion. A curtain 
of violet velvet, covering if necessary the large window, 
which looked upon a balcony full of flowers, and the 
umbrageous Park; an Axminster carpet, manufactured 
to harmonise both in colour and design with the rest 
of the chamber; a profusion of luxurious seats; a 
large table of ivory marquetry, bearing a carved silver 
bell which once belonged to a pope; a Naiad, whose 
golden urn served as an inkstand; some daggers that 
acted as paper cutters, and some French books just 
arrived; a group of beautiful vases recently released 
from an Egyptian tomb and ranged on a tripod of 
malachite: the portrait of a statesman, and the bust 
of an emperor, and a sparkling fire, were all circum- 
stances which made the room both interesting and 

('72) 



TANCRED 173 

comfortable in which Sidonia welcomed Tancred and 
introduced him to a guest who had preceded him, 
Lord Henry Sydney. 

It was a name that touched Tancred, as it has all 
the youth of England, significant of a career that 
would rescue public life from that strange union of 
lax principles and contracted sympathies which now 
form the special and degrading features of British 
politics. It was borne by one whose boyhood we 
have painted amid the fields and schools of Eton, and 
the springtime of whose earliest youth we traced by 
the sedgy waters of the Cam. We left him on the 
threshold of public life; and, in four years, Lord 
Henry had created that reputation which now made 
him a source of hope and solace to millions of his 
countrymen. But they were four years of labour 
which outweighed the usual exertions of public men 
in double that space. His regular attendance in the 
House of Commons alone had given him as much 
Parliamentary experience as fell to the lot of many of 
those who had been first returned in 1837, and had 
been, therefore, twice as long in the House. He was 
not only a vigilant member of public and private com- 
mittees, but had succeeded in appointing and con- 
ducting several on topics which he esteemed of high 
importance. Add to this, that he took an habitual 
part in debate, and was a frequent and effective pub- 
lic writer; and we are furnished with an additional 
testimony, if that indeed were wanting, that there is 
no incentive to exertion like the passion for a noble 
renown. Nor should it be forgotten, that, in all he 
accomplished, he had but one final purpose, and 
that the highest. The debate, the committee, the 
article in the Journal or the Review, the public meet- 



174 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ing, the private research, these were all means to ad- 
vance that which he had proposed as the object of 
his public Hfe, namely, to elevate the condition of the 
people. 

Although there was no public man whose powers 
had more rapidly ripened, still it was interesting to 
observe that their maturity had been faithful to the 
healthy sympathies of his earlier years. The boy, 
whom we have traced intent upon the revival of the 
pastimes of the people, had expanded into the states- 
man, who, in a profound and comprehensive invest! 
gation of the elements of public wealth, had shown 
that a jaded population is not a source of national 
prosperity. What had been a picturesque emotion 
had now become a statistical argument. The ma- 
terial system that proposes the supply of constant toil 
to a people as the perfection of polity, had received 
a staggering blow from the exertions of a young pa- 
trician, who announced his belief that labour had its 
rights as well as its duties. What was excellent 
about Lord Henry was, that he was not a mere phi- 
lanthropist, satisfied to rouse public attention to a 
great social evil, or instantly to suggest for it some 
crude remedy. 

A scholar and a man of the world, learned in his- 
tory and not inexperienced in human nature, he was 
sensible that we must look to the constituent prin- 
ciples of society for the causes and the cures of great 
national disorders. He therefore went deeply into the 
question, nor shrank from investigating how far those 
disorders were produced by the operation or the des- 
uetude of ancient institutions, and how far it might 
be necessary to call new influences into political ex- 
istence for their remedy. Richly informed, still stu- 



TANCRED 175 

dious, fond of labour and indefatigable, of a gentle 
disposition though of an ardent mind, calm yet ener- 
getic, very open to conviction, but possessing an in- 
flexibility amounting even to obstinacy when his 
course was once taken, a ready and improving 
speaker, an apt and attractive writer, affable and sin- 
cere, and with the undesigning faculty of making 
friends, Lord Henry seemed to possess all the quali- 
ties of a popular leader, if we add to them the golden 
ones: high lineage, an engaging appearance, youth, 
and a temperament in which the reason had not been 
developed to the prejudice of the heart. 

'And when do you start for the Holy Land?' said 
Lord Henry to Tancred, in a tone and with a coun- 
tenance which proved his sympathy. 

'I have clutched my staff, but the caravan lingers.' 

'I envy you!' 

'Why do you not go?' 

Lord Henry slightly shrugged his shoulders, and 
said, ' It is too late. I have begun my work and I 
cannot leave it.' 

'If a Parliamentary career could save this country,' 
said Tancred, ' I am sure you would be a public bene- 
factor. I have observed what you and Mr. Con- 
ingsby and some of your friends have done and said, 
with great interest. But Parliament seems to me to 
be the very place which a man of action should avoid. 
A Parliamentary career, that old superstition of the 
eighteenth century, was important when there were 
no other sources of power and fame. An aristocracy 
at the head of a people whom they had plundered of 
their means of education, required some cultivated 
tribunal whose sympathy might stimulate their intelli- 
gence and satisfy their vanity. Parliament was never 



176 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

so great as when they debated with closed doors. 
The public opinion, of which they never dreamed, 
has superseded the rhetorical club of our great-grand- 
fathers. They know this well enough, and try to 
maintain their unnecessary position by affecting the 
character of men of business, but amateur men of 
business are very costly conveniences. In this age it 
is not Parliament that does the real work. It does 
not govern Ireland, for example. If the manufacturers 
want to change a tariff, they form a commercial 
league, and they effect their purpose. It is the same 
with the abolition of slavery, and all our great revo- 
lutions. Parliament has become as really insignificant 
as for two centuries it has kept the monarch, O'Con- 
nell has taken a good share of its power; Cobden has 
taken another; and I am inclined to believe,' said 
Tancred, 'though I care little about it, that, if our 
order had any spirit or prescience, they would put 
themselves at the head of the people, and take the 
rest.' 

'Coningsby dines here to-day,' said Sidonia, who, 
unobserved, had watched Tancred as he spoke, with 
a searching glance. 

'Notwithstanding what you say,' said Lord Henry, 
smiling, 'I wish I could induce you to remain and 
help us. You would be a great ally.' 

' I go to a land,' said Tancred, 'that has never 
been blessed by that fatal drollery called a represent- 
ative government, though Omniscience once deigned 
to trace out the polity which should rule it.' 

At this moment the servant announced Lord and 
Lady Marney. 

Political sympathy had created a close intimacy 
between Lord Marney and Coningsby. They were 



TANCRED 177 

necessary to each other. They were both men en- 
tirely devoted to pubhc affairs, and sitting in dif- 
ferent Houses, both young, and both masters of 
fortunes of the first class, they were indicated as in- 
dividuals who hereafter might take a lead, and, far 
from clashing, would co-operate with each other. 
Through Coningsby the Marneys had become ac- 
quainted with Sidonia, who liked them both, particu- 
larly Sybil. Although received by society with open 
arms, especially by the high nobility, who affected to 
look upon Sybil quite as one of themselves. Lady 
Marney, notwithstanding the homage that every- 
where awaited her, had already shown a disposition 
to retire as much as possible within the precinct of a 
chosen circle. 

This was her second season, and Sybil ventured 
to think that she had made, in the general gaieties of 
her first, a sufficient oblation to the genius of fashion, 
and the immediate requirements of her social position. 
Her life was faithful to its first impulse. Devoted to 
the improvement of the condition of the people, she 
was the moving spring of the charitable development 
of this great city. Her house, without any pedantic 
effort, had become the focus of a refined society, 
who, though obliged to show themselves for the mo- 
ment in the great carnival, wear their masks, blow 
their trumpets, and pelt the multitude with sugar- 
plums, were glad to find a place where they could 
at all times divest themselves of their mummery, and 
return to their accustomed garb of propriety and 
good taste. 

Sybil, too, felt alone in the world. Without a 
relation, without an acquaintance of early and other 
days, she clung to her husband with a devotion 



178 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

which was peculiar as well as profound, Egremont 
was to her more than a husband and a lover; he was 
her only friend; it seemed to Sybil that he could be her 
only friend. The disposition of Lord Marney was not 
opposed to the habits of his wife. Men, when they 
are married, often shrink from the glare and bustle of 
those social multitudes which are entered by bache- 
lors with the excitement of knights-errant in a fairy 
wilderness, because they are supposed to be rife with 
adventures, and, perhaps, fruitful of a heroine. The 
adventure sometimes turns out to be a catastrophe, 
and the heroine a copy instead of an original; but let 
that pass. 

Lord Marney liked to be surrounded by those who 
sympathised with his pursuit; and his pursuit was 
politics, and politics on a great scale. The common- 
place career of official distinction was at his com- 
mand. A great peer, with abilities and ambition, a 
good speaker, supposed to be a Conservative, he 
might soon have found his way into the cabinet, and, 
like the rest, have assisted in registering the decrees 
of one too powerful individual. But Lord Marney 
had been taught to think at a period of life when he 
little dreamed of the responsibility which fortune had 
in store for him. 

The change in his position had not altered the con- 
clusions at which he had previously arrived. He held 
that the state of England, notwithstanding the super- 
ficies of a material prosperity, was one of impending 
doom, unless it were timely arrested by those who 
were in high places. A man of fine mind rather than 
of brilliant talents, Lord Marney found, in the more 
vivid and impassioned intelligence of Coningsby, the 
directing sympathy which he required. Tadpole looked 



TANCRED 179 

upon his lordship as little short of insane. 'Do you 
see that man?' he would say. as Lord Marney rode 
by. ' He might be Privy Seal, and he throws it all 
away for the nonsense of Young England!' 

Mrs. Coningsby entered the room almost on the 
footsteps of the Marneys. 

'1 am in despair about Harry,' she said, as she 
gave a finger to Sidonia, ' but he told me not to wait 
for him later than eight. I suppose he is kept at 
the House. Do you know anything of him, Lord 
Henry?' 

'You may make yourself quite easy about him,' 
said Lord Henry. ' He promised Vavasour to support 
a motion which he has to-day, and perhaps speak on 
it. 1 ought to be there too, but Charles Buller told 
me there would certainly be no division and so I 
ventured to pair off with him.' 

'He will come with Vavasour,' said Sidonia, 'who 
makes up our party. They will be here before we 
have seated ourselves.' 

The gentlemen had exchanged the usual inquiry, 
whether there was anything new to-day, without 
waiting for the answer. Sidonia introduced Tancred 
and Lord Marney. 

'And what have you been doing to-day?' said 
Edith to Sybil, by whose side she had seated herself. 
' Lady Bardolf did nothing last night but grander me, 
because you never go to her parties. In vain I said 
that you looked upon her as the most odious of her 
sex, and her balls the pest of society. She was not 
in the least satisfied. And how is Gerard?' 

'Why, we really have been very uneasy about 
him,' said Lady Marney, 'but the last bulletin,' she 
added, with a smile, 'announces a tooth.' 



i8o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

* Next year you must give him a pony, and let him 
ride with my Harry; I mean my little Harry, Harry of 
Monmouth I call him; he is so like a portrait Mr. 
Coningsby has of his grandfather, the same debauched 
look.' 

'Your dinner is served, sir!' 

Sidonia offered his hand to Lady Marney; Edith 
was attended by Tancred. A door at the end of the 
room opened into a marble corridor, which led to the 
dining-room, decorated in the same style as the library. 
It was a suite of apartments which Sidonia used for 
an intimate circle like the present. 





CHAPTER XX. 

A Modern Troubadour. 

HEY seated themselves at a round 
table, on which everything seemed 
brilliant and sparkling; nothing 
heavy, nothing oppressive. There 
was scarcely anything that Sidonia 
disliked so much as a small table, 
groaning, as it is aptly termed, with plate. He shrunk 
from great masses of gold and silver; gigantic groups, 
colossal shields, and mobs of tankards and flagons; 
and never used them except on great occasions, when 
the banquet assumes an Egyptian character, and be- 
comes too vast for refinement. At present, the dinner 
was served on Sevres porcelain of Rose du Barri, 
raised on airy golden stands of arabesque workman- 
ship; a mule bore your panniers of salt, or a sea- 
nymph proffered it you on a shell just fresh from the 
ocean, or you found it in a bird's nest; by every 
guest a different pattern. In the centre of the table, 
mounted on a pedestal, was a group of pages in 
Dresden china. Nothing could be more gay than 
their bright cloaks and flowing plumes, more elabo- 
rately exquisite than their laced shirts and rosettes, or 
more fantastically saucy than their pretty affected 
faces, as each, with extended arm, held a light to a 

(i8i) 



i82 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

guest. The room was otherwise illumined from the 
sides. 

The guests had scarcely seated themselves when 
the two absent ones arrived. 

'Well, you did not divide, Vavasour,' said Lord 
Henry. 

'Did 1 not?' said Vavasour; 'and nearly beat the 
Government. You are a pretty fellow!' 

' I was paired.' 

'With some one who could not stay. Your 
brother, Mrs. Coningsby, behaved like a man, sacri- 
ficed his dinner, and made a capital speech.' 

'Oh! Oswald, did he speak.? Did you speak, 
Harry ? ' 

'No; I voted. There was too much speaking as 
it was; if Vavasour had not replied, 1 believe we 
should have won.' 

'But then, my dear fellow, think of my points; 
think how they laid themselves open!' 

'A majority is always the best repartee,' said 
Coningsby. 

'I have been talking with Montacute,' whispered 
Lord Henry to Coningsby, who was seated next to 
him. ' Wonderful fellow! You can conceive nothing 
richer! Very wild, but all the right ideas; exaggerated 
of course. You must get hold of him after dinner.' 

'But they say he is going to Jerusalem.' 

'But he will return.' 

'I do not know that; even Napoleon regretted 
that he had ever re-crossed the Mediterranean. The 
East is a career.' 

Mr. Vavasour was a social favourite; a poet and 
a real poet, and a troubadour, as well as a member 
of Parliament; travelled, sv/eet-tempered, and good- 



TANCRED 183 

hearted; amusing and clever. With cathohc sympa- 
thies and an eclectic turn of mind, Mr. Vavasour saw 
something good in everybody and everything, which 
is certainly amiable, and perhaps just, but disqualifies 
a man in some degree for the business of life, which 
requires for its conduct a certain degree of prejudice. 
Mr. Vavasour's breakfasts were renowned. Whatever 
your creed, class, or country, one might almost add 
your character, you were a welcome guest at his 
matutinal meal, provided you were celebrated. That 
qualification, however, was rigidly enforced. 

It not rarely happened that never were men more 
incongruously grouped. Individuals met at his hos- 
pitable house who had never met before, but who for 
years had been cherishing in solitude mutual detesta- 
tion, with all the irritable exaggeration of the literary 
character. Vavasour liked to be the Amphitryon of a 
cluster of personal enemies. He prided himself on 
figuring as the social medium by which rival reputa- 
tions became acquainted, and paid each other in his 
presence the compliments which veiled their ineffable 
disgust. All this was very well at his rooms in the 
Albany, and only funny; but when he collected his 
menageries at his ancestral hall in a distant county, 
the sport sometimes became tragic. 

A real philosopher, alike from his genial disposi- 
tion and from the influence of his rich and various 
information. Vavasour moved amid the strife, sympa- 
thising with every one; and perhaps, after all, the 
philanthropy which was his boast was not untinged 
by a dash of humour, of which rare and charming 
quality he possessed no inconsiderable portion. Vava- 
sour liked to know everybody who was known, and 
to see everything which ought to be seen. He also 

15 B. D.-25 



i84 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

was of opinion that everybody who was known ought 
to know him; and that the spectacle, however splen- 
did or exciting, was not quite perfect without his 
presence. 

His life was a gyration of energetic curiosity; an 
insatiable whirl of social celebrity. There was not a 
congregation of sages and philosophers in any part of 
Europe which he did not attend as a brother. He 
was present at the camp of Kalisch in his yeomanry 
uniform, and assisted at the festivals of Barcelona in 
an Andalusian jacket. He was everywhere, and at 
everything; he had gone down in a diving-bell and 
gone up in a balloon. As for his acquaintances, he 
was welcomed in every land; his universal sympa- 
thies seemed omnipotent. Emperor and king, jacobin 
and carbonaro, alike cherished him. He was the 
steward of Polish balls and the vindicator of Russian 
humanity; he dined with Louis Philippe, and gave 
dinners to Louis Blanc. 

This was a dinner of which the guests came to 
partake. Though they delighted in each other's so- 
ciety, their meetings were not so rare that they need 
sacrifice the elegant pleasures of a refined meal 
for the opportunity of conversation. They let that 
take its chance, and ate and drank without affectation. 
Nothing so rare as a female dinner where people eat, 
and few things more delightful. On the present oc- 
casion some time elapsed, while the admirable per- 
formances of Sidonia's cook were discussed, with 
little interruption; a burst now and then from the 
ringing voice of Mrs. Coningsby crossing a lance with 
her habitual opponent, Mr. Vavasour, who, however, 
generally withdrew from the skirmish when a fresh 
dish was handed to him. 



TANCRED 185 

At length, the second course being served, Mrs. 
Coningsby said, 'I think you have all eaten enough: 
I have a piece of information for you. There is going 
to be a costume ball at the Palace.' 

This announcement produced a number of simul- 
taneous remarks and exclamations. 'When was it to 
be? What was it to be? An age, or a country; or 
an olio of all ages and all countries?' 

'An age is a masquerade,' said Sidonia. 'The 
more contracted the circle, the more perfect the illu- 
sion.' 

'Oh, no!' said Vavasour, shaking his head. 'An 
age is the thing; it is a much higher thing. What 
can be finer than to represent the spirit of an age?' 

'And Mr. Vavasour to perform the principal part,' 
said Mrs. Coningsby. 'I know exactly what he 
means. He wants to dance the polka as Petrarch, and 
find a Laura in every partner.' 

'You have no poetical feeling,' said Mr. Vavasour, 
waving his hand. 'I have often told you so.' 

' You will easily find Lauras, Mr. Vavasour, if you 
often write such beautiful verses as I have been read- 
ing to-day,' said Lady Marney. 

'You, on the contrary,' said Mr. Vavasour, bowing, 
'have a great deal of poetic feeling. Lady Marney; I 
have always said so.' 

'But give us your news, Edith,' said Coningsby. 
'Imagine our suspense, when it is a question, whether 
we are all to look picturesque or quizzical.' 

' Ah, you want to know whether you can go as Car- 
dinal Mazarin, or the Duke of Ripperda, Harry. I 
know exactly what you all are now thinking of; whether 
you will draw the prize in the forthcoming lottery, 
and get exactly the epoch and the character which 



i86 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

suit you. Is it not so, Lord Montacute ? Would not 
you like to practise a little with your crusados at the 
Queen's ball before you go to the Holy Sepulchre?' 

*I would rather hear your description of it,' said 
Tancred. 

' Lord Henry, I see, is half inclined to be your 
companion as a Red-cross Knight,' continued Edith. 
'As for Lady Marney, she is the successor of Mrs. 
Fry, and would wish, I am sure, to go to the ball as 
her representative.' 

' And pray what are you thinking of being ? ' said 
Mr. Vavasour. ' We should hke very much to be 
favoured with Mrs. Coningsby's ideal of herself.' 

'Mrs. Coningsby leaves the ideal to poets. She is 
quite satisfied to remain what she is, and it is her 
intention to do so, though she means to go to Her 
Majesty's ball.' 

' 1 see that you are in the secret,' said Lord Marney. 

' If I could only keep secrets, I might turn out 
something,' said Mrs. Coningsby. 'I am the deposi- 
tary of so much that is occult — joys, sorrows, plots, 
and scrapes; but I always tell Harry, and he always 
betrays me. Well, you must guess a little. Lady 
Marney begins.' 

'Well, we were at one at Turin,' said Lady Mar- 
ney, 'and it was oriental, Lalla Rookh. Are you to 
be a sultana.?' 

Mrs. Coningsby shook her head. 

'Come, Edith,' said her husband; ' if you know, 
which 1 doubt ' 

' Oh ! you doubt ' 

'Valentine told me yesterday,' said Mr. Vavasour, 
in a mock peremptory tone, ' that there would not 
be a ball.' 



TANCRED 187 

'And Lord Valentine told me yesterday that there 
would be a ball, and what the ball would be; and 
what is more, I have fixed on my dress,' said Mrs. 
Coningsby. 

' Such a rapid decision proves that much antiqua- 
rian research is not necessary,' said Sidonia. 'Your 
period is modern.' 

'Ah!' said Edith, looking at Sidonia, 'he always 
finds me out. Well, Mr. Vavasour, you will not be 
able to crown yourself with a laurel wreath, for the 
gentlemen will wear wigs.' 

' Louis Quatorze ? ' said her husband. ' Peel as 
Louvois.' 

'No, Sir Robert would be content with nothing 
less than Le Grand Colbert, me Richelieu, No. i^, 
grand magasin de nouveautes tres-anciennes: prix fixe, 
avec qiielqiies rabais.' 

' A description of Conservatism,' said Coningsby. 

The secret was soon revealed: every one had a 
conjecture and a commentary: gentlemen in wigs, 
and ladies powdered, patched, and sacked. Vavasour 
pondered somewhat dolefully on the anti-poetic spirit 
of the age; Coningsby hailed him as the author of 
Leonidas. 

'And you, I suppose, will figure as one of the 
"boys" arrayed against the great Sir Robert?' said 
Mr. Vavasour, with a countenance of mock veneration 
for that eminent personage. 

'The "boys" beat him at last,' said Coningsby; 
and then, with a rapid precision and a richness of 
colouring which were peculiar to him, he threw out 
a sketch which placed the period before them; and 
they began to tear it to tatters, select the incidents, 
and apportion the characters. 



i88 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Two things which are necessary to a perfect 
dinner are noiseless attendants, and a precision in 
serving the various dishes of each course, so that they 
may all be placed upon the table at the same mo- 
ment. A deficiency in these respects produces that 
bustle and delay which distract many an agreeable 
conversation and spoil many a pleasant dish. These 
two excellent characteristics were never wanting at 
the dinners of Sidonia. At no house was there less 
parade. The appearance of the table changed as if by 
the waving of a wand, and silently as a dream. And 
at this moment, the dessert being arranged, fruits and 
their beautiful companions, flowers, reposed in ala- 
baster baskets raised on silver stands of filigree 
work. 

There was half an hour of merry talk, graceful and 
gay: a good story, a bon-mot fresh from the mint, 
some raillery like summer lightning, vivid but not 
scorching. 

'And now,' said Edith, as the ladies rose to re- 
turn to the library, 'and now we leave you to May- 
nooth.' 

' By-the-bye, what do they say to it in your House, 
Lord Marney?' inquired Henry Sydney, filling his 
glass. 

'It will go down,' said Lord Marney. 'A strong 
dose for some, but they are used to potent potions.' 

'The bishops, they say, have not made up their 
minds.' 

'Fancy bishops not having made up their minds,' 
exclaimed Tancred: 'the only persons who ought 
never to doubt.' 

'Except when they are offered a bishopric,' said 
Lord Marney. 



TANCRED 189 

'Why I like this Maynooth project,' said Tancred, 
' though otherwise it little interests me, is, that all 
the shopkeepers are against it.' 

'Don't tell that to the minister,' said Coningsby, 
'or he will give up the measure.' 

'Well, that is the very reason,' said Vavasour, 
' why, though otherwise inclined to the grant, I hesi- 
tate as to my vote. I have the highest opinion of 
the shopkeepers; I sympathise even with their prej- 
udices. They are the class of the age; they represent 
its order, its decency, its industry.' 

'And you represent them,' said Coningsby. 'Va- 
vasour is the quintessence of order, decency, and in- 
dustry.' 

'You may jest,' said Vavasour, shaking his head 
with a spice of solemn drollery; 'but public opinion 
must and ought to be respected, right or wrong.' 

'What do you mean by public opinion?' said 
Tancred. 

'The opinion of the reflecting majority,' said Vava- 
sour. 

'Those who don't read your poems,' said Con- 
ingsby. 

'Boy, boy!' said Vavasour, who could endure rail- 
lery from one he had been at college with, but who 
was not over-pleased at Coningsby selecting the pres- 
ent occasion to claim his franchise, when a new man 
was present like Lord Montacute, on whom Vavasour 
naturally wished to produce an impression. It must 
be owned that it was not, as they say, very good 
taste in the husband of Edith, but prosperity had de- 
veloped in Coningsby a native vein of sauciness which 
It required all the solemnity of the senate to repress. 
Indeed, even there, upon the benches, with a grave 



I90 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

face, he often indulged in quips and cranks that con- 
vulsed his neighbouring audience, who often, amid 
the long dreary nights of statistical imposture, sought 
refuge in his gay sarcasms, his airy personalities, and 
happy quotations. 

'I do not see how there can be opinion without 
thought,' said Tancred; 'and 1 do not believe the pub- 
lic ever think. How can they.? They have no time. 
Certainly we live at present under the empire of gen- 
eral ideas, which are extremely powerful. But the 
public have not invented those ideas. They have 
adopted them from convenience. No one has con- 
fidence in himself; on the contrary, every one has a 
mean idea of his own strength and has no reliance 
on his own judgment. Men obey a general impulse, 
they bow before an external necessity, whether for 
resistance or action. Individuality is dead; there is a 
want of inward and personal energy in man; and 
that is what people feel and mean when they go 
about complaining there is no faith.' 

'You would hold, then,' said Henry Sydney, 'that 
the progress of public liberty marches with the decay 
of personal greatness ? ' 

' It would seem so.' 

' But the majority will always prefer public liberty 
to personal greatness,' said Lord Marney. 

' But, without personal greatness, you never would 
have had public liberty,' said Coningsby. 

'After all, it is civilisation that you are kicking 
against,' said Vavasour. 

'I do not understand what you mean by civilisa- 
tion,' said Tancred. 

' The progressive development of the faculties of 
man,' said Vavasour. 



TANCRED 191 

'Yes, but what is progressive development?' said 
Sidonia; 'and what are the faculties of man? If de- 
velopment be progressive, how do you account for 
the state of Italy? One will tell you it is supersti- 
tion, indulgences, and the Lady of Loretto; yet three 
centuries ago, when all these influences were much 
more powerful, Italy was the soul of Europe. The 
less prejudiced, a Puseyite for example, like our 
friend Vavasour, will assure us that the state of Italy 
has nothing to do with the spirit of its religion, but 
that it is entirely an affair of commerce; a revolution 
of commerce has convulsed its destinies. I cannot 
forget that the world was once conquered by Italians 
who had no commerce. Has the development of 
Western Asia been progressive? It is a land of 
tombs and ruins. Is China progressive, the most 
ancient and numerous of existing societies? Is Eu- 
rope itself progressive ? Is Spain a tithe as great as 
she was ? Is Germany as great as when she invented 
printing; as she was under the rule of Charles the 
Fifth ? France herself laments her relative inferiority 
to the past. But England flourishes. Is it what you 
call civilisation that makes England flourish ? Is it 
the universal development of the faculties of man that 
has rendered an island, almost unknown to the an- 
cients, the arbiter of the world ? Clearly not. It is 
her inhabitants that have done this; it is an affair of 
race. A Saxon race, protected by an insular position, 
has stamped its diligent and methodic character on 
the century. And when a superior race, with a supe- 
rior idea to work and order, advances, its state will 
be progressive, and we shall, perhaps, follow the ex- 
ample of the desolate countries. All is race; there is 
no other truth.' 



192 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

' Because it includes ail others ? ' said Lord Henry. 

'You have said it.' 

'As for Vavasour's definition of civilisation,' said 
Coningsby, 'civihsation was more advanced in an- 
cient than modern times; then what becomes of the 
progressive principle ? Look at the great centuries of 
the Roman Empire! You had two hundred millions 
of human beings governed by a jurisprudence so phil- 
osophical that we have been obliged to adopt its 
laws, and living in perpetual peace. The means of 
communication, of which we now make such a boast, 
were far more vast and extensive in those days. 
What were the Great Western and the London and 
Birmingham to the Appian and Flaminian roads? 
After two thousand five hundred years, parts of these 
are still used. A man under the Antonines might 
travel from Paris to Antioch with as much ease and 
security as we go from London to York. As for free 
trade, there never was a really unshackled commerce 
except in the days when the whole of the Mediter- 
ranean coasts belonged to one power. What a chat- 
ter there is now about the towns, and how their 
development is cited as the peculiarity of the age, 
and the great security for public improvement. Why, 
the Roman Empire was the empire of great cities. 
Man was then essentially municipal.' 

'What an empire!' said Sidonia. 'All the supe- 
rior races in all the superior climes.' 

'But how does all this accord with your and 
Coningsby's favourite theory of the influence of indi- 
vidual character?' said Vavasour to Sidonia; 'which 
I hold, by-the-bye,' he added rather pompously, 'to 
be entirely futile.' 

' What is individual character but the personifica- 



TANCRED 193 

tion of race,* said Sidonia, 'its perfection and choice 
exemplar? Instead of being an inconsistency, the be- 
lief in the influence of the individual is a corollary of 
the original proposition.' 

' 1 look upon a belief in the influence of indi- 
vidual character as a barbarous superstition,' said 
Vavasour. 

' Vavasour believes that there would be no heroes 
if there were a police,' said Coningsby; 'but 1 be- 
lieve that civilisation is only fatal to minstrels, and 
that is the reason now we have no poets.' 

'How do you account for the Polish failure in 
1831 .?' said Lord Marney. 'They had a capital army, 
they were backed by the population, but they failed. 
They had everything but a man.' 

'Why were the Whigs smashed in 1834,' said 
Coningsby, 'but because they had not a man?' 

'What is the real explanation of the state of 
Mexico?' said Sidonia. 'It has not a man.' 

'So much for progress since the days of Charles 
the Fifth,' said Henry Sydney. 'The Spaniards then 
conquered Mexico, and now they cannot govern it.' 

'So much for race,' said Vavasour. 'The race is 
the same; why are not the results the same?' 

'Because it is worn out,' said Sidonia. 'Why do 
not the Ethiopians build another Thebes, or excavate 
the colossal temples of the cataracts? The decay of 
a race is an inevitable necessity, unless it lives in 
deserts and never mixes its blood.' 



CHAPTER XXI. 




Sweet Sympathy. 



AM sorry, my dear mother, that I 
cannot accompany you; but I must 
go down to my yacht this morn- 
ing, and on my return from 
Greenwich I have an engage- 
ment.' 

This was said about a week after the dinner at 
Sidonia's, by Lord Montacute to the duchess. 
'That terrible yacht!' thought the duchess. 
Her Grace, a year ago, had she been aware of it, 
would have deemed Tancred's engagement as fearful 
an affair. The idea that her son should have called 
every day for a week on a married lady, beautiful 
and attractive, would have filled her with alarm 
amounting almost to horror. Yet such was the inno- 
cent case. It might at the first glance seem difficult 
to reconcile the rival charms of the Basilisk and Lady 
Bertie and Bellair, and to understand how Tancred 
could be so interested in the preparations for a voy- 
age which was to bear him from the individual in 
whose society he found a daily gratification. But the 
truth is, that Lady Bertie and Bellair was the only 
person who sympathised with his adventure. 
094) 



TANCRED 195 

She listened with the liveliest concern to his ac- 
count of all his progress; she even made many ad- 
mirable suggestions, for Lady Bertie and Bellair had 
been a frequent visitor at Cowes, and was quite in- 
itiated in the mysteries of the dilettante service of the 
Yacht Club. She was a capital sailor; at least she 
always told Tancred so. But this was not the chief 
source of sympathy, or the principal bond of union, 
between them. It was not the voyage, so much as 
the object of the voyage, that touched all the passion 
of Lady Bertie and Bellair. Her heart was at Jerusa- 
lem. The sacred city was the dream of her life; and, 
amid the dissipations of May Fair and the distractions 
of Belgravia, she had in fact all this time only been 
thinking of Jehoshaphat and Sion. Strange coincidence 
of sentiment — strange and sweet! 

The enamoured Montacute hung over her with pi- 
ous rapture, as they examined together Mr. Roberts's 
Syrian drawings, and she alike charmed and aston- 
ished him by her familiarity with every locality and 
each detail. She looked like a beautiful prophetess as 
she dilated with solemn enthusiasm on the sacred 
scene. Tancred called on her every day, because 
when he called the first time he had announced his 
immediate departure, and so had been authorised to 
promise that he would pay his respects to her every 
day till he went. It was calculated that by these 
means, that is to say three or four visits, they might 
perhaps travel through Mr. Roberts's views together 
before he left England, which would facilitate their 
correspondence, for Tancred had engaged to write to 
the only person in the world worthy of receiving his 
letters. But, though separated, Lady Bertie and Bel- 
lair would be with him in spirit; and once she sighed 



196 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

and seemed to murmur that if his voyage could only 
be postponed awhile, she might in a manner become 
his fellow-pilgrim, for Lord Bertie, a great sportsman, 
had a desire to kill antelopes, and, wearied with the 
monotonous slaughter of English preserves, tired even 
of the eternal moors, had vague thoughts of seeking 
new sources of excitement amid the snipes of the 
Grecian marshes, .and the deer and wild boars of the 
desert and the Syrian hills. 

While his captain was repeating his inquiries for 
instructions on the deck of the Basilisk at Greenwich, 
moored off the Trafalgar Hotel, Tancred fell into rev- 
eries of female pilgrims kneeling at the Holy Sepul- 
chre by his side; then started, gave a hurried reply, 
and drove back quickly to town, to pass the remain- 
der of the morning in Brook Street. 

The two or three days had expanded into two or 
three weeks, and Tancred continued to call daily on 
Lady Bertie and Bellair, to say farewell. It was not 
wonderful: she was the only person in London who 
understood him; so she delicately intimated, so he 
profoundly felt. They had the same ideas; they must 
have the same idiosyncrasy. The lady asked with a 
sigh why they had not met before; Tancred found 
some solace in the thought that they had at least be- 
come acquainted. There was something about this 
lady very interesting besides her beauty, her bright 
intelligence, and her seraphic thoughts. She was evi- 
dently the creature of impulse; to a certain degree 
perhaps the victim of her imagination. She seemed 
misplaced in life. The tone of the century hardly 
suited her refined and romantic spirit. Her ethereal 
nature seemed to shrink from the coarse reality which 
invades in our days even the boudoirs of May Fair. 



TANCRED 197 

There was something in her appearance and the tem- 
per of her being which rebuked the material, sordid, 
calculating genius of our reign of Mammon. 

Her presence in this world was a triumphant vin- 
dication of the claims of beauty and of sentiment. It 
was evident that she was not happy; for, though her 
fair brow always lighted up when she met the glance 
of Tancred, it was impossible not to observe that she 
was sometimes strangely depressed, often anxious 
and excited, frequently absorbed in reverie. Yet her 
vivid intelligence, the clearness and precision of her 
thought and fancy, never faltered. In the unknown 
yet painful contest, the intellectual always triumphed. 
It was impossible to deny that she was a woman of 
great ability. 

Nor could it for a moment be imagined that these 
fitful moods were merely the routine intimations that 
her domestic hearth was not as happy as it deserved 
to be. On the contrary. Lord and Lady Bertie and 
Bellair were the very best friends; she always spoke 
of her husband with interest and kindness; they were 
much together, and there evidently existed between 
them mutual confidence. His lordship's heart, indeed, 
was not at Jerusalem; and perhaps this want of sym- 
pathy on a subject of such rare and absorbing inter- 
est might account for the occasional musings of his 
wife, taking refuge in her own solitary and devoutly 
passionate soul. But this deficiency on the part of 
his lordship could scarcely be alleged against him as 
a very heinous fault; it is far from usual to find a 
British noble who on such a topic entertains the no- 
tions and sentiments of Lord Montacute; almost as 
rare to find a British peeress who could respond to 
them with the same fervour and facility as the beau- 



198 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tiful Lady Bertie and Bellair. The life of a British 
peer is mainly regulated by Arabian laws and Syrian 
customs at this moment; but, while he sabbatically 
abstains from the debate or the rubber, or regulates 
the quarterly performance of his judicial duties in his 
province by the advent of the sacred festivals, he 
thinks little of the land and the race who, under the 
immediate superintendence of the Deity, have by their 
sublime legislation established the principle of periodic 
rest to man, or by their deeds and their dogmas, 
commemorated by their holy anniversaries, have ele- 
vated the condition and softened the lot of every na- 
tion except their own. 

'And how does Tancred get on?' asked Lord 
Eskdale one morning of the Duchess of Bellamont, 
with a dry smile. 'I understand that, instead of 
going to Jerusalem, he is going to give us a fish 
dinner.' 

The Duchess of Bellamont had made the acquaint- 
ance of Lady Bertie and Bellair, and was delighted 
with her, although her Grace had been told that Lord 
Montacute called upon her every day. The proud, 
intensely proper, and highly prejudiced Duchess of 
Bellamont took the most charitable view of this sud- 
den and fervent friendship. A female friend, who 
talked about Jerusalem, but kept her son in London, 
was in the present estimation of the duchess a real 
treasure, the most interesting and admirable of her 
sex. Their intimacy was satisfactorily accounted for 
by the invaluable information which she imparted to 
Tancred; what he was to see, do, eat, drink; how he 
was to avoid being poisoned and assassinated, escape 
fatal fevers, regularly attend the service of the Church 
of England in countries where there were no churches, 



TANCRED 199 

and converse in languages of which he had no knowl- 
edge. He could not have a better counsellor than 
Lady Bertie, who had herself travelled, at least to the 
Faubourg St. Honore, and, as Horace Walpole says, 
after Calais nothing astonishes. Certainly Lady Bertie 
had not been herself to Jerusalem, but she had read 
about it, and every other place. The duchess was 
delighted that Tancred had a companion who inter- 
ested him. With all the impulse of her sanguine 
temperament, she had already accustomed herself to 
look upon the long-dreaded yacht as a toy, and rather 
an amusing one, and was daily more convinced of 
the prescient shrewdness of her cousin, Lord Eskdale. 

Tancred was going to give them a fish dinner! A 
what? A sort of banquet which might have served 
for the marriage feast of Neptune and Amphitrite, and 
be commemorated by a constellation; and which 
ought to have been administered by the Nereids and 
the Naiads; terrines of turtle, pools of water souchee, 
flounders of every hue, and eels in every shape, cut- 
lets of salmon, salmis of carp, ortolans represented by 
whitebait, and huge roasts carved out of the sturgeon. 
The appetite is distracted by the variety of objects, 
and tantalised by the restlessness of perpetual solici- 
tation; not a moment of repose, no pause for enjoy- 
ment; eventually, a feeling of satiety, without 
satisfaction, and of repletion without sustenance; till, 
at night, gradually recovering from the whirl of the 
anomalous repast, famished yet incapable of flavour, 
the tortured memory can only recall with an effort, 
that it has dined off pink champagne and brown bread 
and butter! 

What a ceremony to be presided over by Tancred 
of Montacute; who, if he deigned to dine at all, ought 



aoo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

to have dined at no less a round table than that of 
King Arthur. What a consummation of a sublime 
project! What a catastrophe of a spiritual career! A 
Greenwich party and a tavern bill! 

All the world now is philosophical, and therefore 
they can account for this disaster. Without doubt 
we are the creatures of circumstances; and, if circum- 
stances take the shape of a charming woman, who 
insists upon sailing in your yacht, which happens to 
to be at Blackwall or Greenwich, it is not easy to 
discover how the inevitable consequences can be 
avoided. It would hardly do, off the Nore, to pre- 
sent your mistress with a sea-pie, or abruptly re- 
mind your farewell friends and sorrowing parents of 
their impending loss by suddenly serving up soup 
hermetically sealed, and roasting the embalmed joint, 
which ought only to have smoked amid the ruins 
of Thebes or by the cataracts of Nubia. 

There are, however, two sides of every picture; a 
party may be pleasant, and even a fish dinner not 
merely a whirl of dishes and a clash of plates. The 
guests may be not too numerous, and well assorted; 
the attendance not too devoted, yet regardful; the 
weather may be charming, which is a great thing, 
and the giver of the dinner may be charmed, and that 
is everything. 

The party to see the Basilisk was not only the most 
agreeable of the season, but the most agreeable ever 
known. They all said so when they came back. Mr. 
Vavasour, who was there, went to all his evening 
parties; to the assembly by the wife of a minister in 
Carlton Terrace; to a rout by the wife of the leader 
of opposition in Whitehall; to a literary soiree in 
Westminster, and a brace of balls in Portman and 



TANCRED 20I 

Belgrave Squares; and told them all that they were 
none of them to be compared to the party of the 
morning, to which, it must be owned, he had greatly 
contributed by his good humour and merry wit. Mrs. 
Coningsby declared to every one that, if Lord Monta- 
cute would take her, she was quite ready to go to 
Jerusalem; such a perfect vessel was the Basilisk, and 
such an admirable sailor was Mrs. Coningsby, which, 
considering that the river was like a mill-pond, ac- 
cording to Tancred's captain, or like a mirror, accord- 
ing to Lady Bertie and Bellair, was not surprising. 
The duke protested that he was quite glad that Mon- 
tacute had taken to yachting, it seemed to agree 
with him so well; and spoke of his son's future 
movements as if there were no such place as Pales- 
tine in the world. The sanguine duchess dreamed of 
Cowes regattas, and resolved to agree to any arrange- 
ment to meet her son's fancy, provided he would stay 
at home, which she convinced herself he had now re- 
solved to do. 

'Our cousin is so wise,' she said to her husband, 
as they were returning. ' What could the bishop mean 
by saying that Tancred was a visionary ? I agree 
with you, George, there is no counsellor like a man 
of the world.' 

'I wish M. de Sidonia had come,' said Lady Ber- 
tie and Bellair, gazing from the window of the Trafal- 
gar on the moonlit river with an expression of 
abstraction, and speaking in a tone almost of mel- 
ancholy. 

'I also wish it, since you do,' said Tancred. 'But 
they say he goes nowhere. It was almost pre- 
sumptuous in me to ask him, yet 1 did so because you 
wished it.' 



202 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

M never shall know him,' said Lady Bertie and 
Bellair, with some vexation. 

'He interests you,' said Tancred, a little piqued. 

'I had so many things to say to him,' said her 
ladyship. 

'Indeed!' said Tancred; and then he continued, 'I 
offered him every inducement to come, for I told him 
it was to meet you; but perhaps if he had known 
that you had so many things to say to him, he might 
have relented.' 

'So many things! Oh! yes. You know he has 
been a great traveller; he has been everywhere; he 
has been at Jerusalem.' 

'Fortunate man!' exclaimed Tancred, half to him- 
self. 'Would 1 were there!' 

'Would we were there, you mean,' said Lady 
Bertie, in a tone of exquisite melody, and looking at 
Tancred with her rich, charged eyes. 

His heart trembled; he was about to give utterance 
to some wild words, but they died upon his lips. 
Two great convictions shared his being: the absolute 
necessity of at once commencing his pilgrimage, and 
the persuasion that life, without the constant presence 
of this sympathising companion, must be intolerable. 
What was to be done? In his long reveries, where 
he had brooded over so many thoughts, some only 
of which he had as yet expressed to mortal ear, Tan- 
cred had calculated, as he believed, every combination 
of obstacle which his projects might have to encoun- 
ter; but one, it now seemed, he had entirely omitted, 
the influence of woman. Why was he here ? Why 
was he not away ? Why had he not departed ? The 
reflection was intolerable; it seemed to him even dis- 
graceful. The being who would be content with 



TANCRED 203 

nothing less than communing with celestial powers 
in sacred climes, standing at a tavern window gazing 
on the moonlit mudbanks of the barbarous Thames, 
a river which neither angel nor prophet had ever 
visited! Before him, softened by the hour, was the 
Isle of Dogs! The Isle of Dogs! It should at least 
be Cyprus! 

The carriages were announced; Lady Bertie and 
Bellair placed her arm in his. 





CHAPTER XXII. 

The Crusader Receives a Shock. 

ANCRED passed a night of great 
disquiet. His mind was agitated, 
his purposes indefinite; his confi- 
dence in himself seemed to falter. 
Where was that strong will that 
had always sustained him ? that 
faculty of instant decision which had given such 
vigour to his imaginary deeds? A shadowy haze had 
suffused his heroic idol, duty, and he could not clearly 
distinguish either its form or its proportions. Did he 
wish to go to the Holy Land or not.'* What a ques- 
tion ? Had it come to that ? Was it possible that he 
could whisper such an enquiry, even to his midnight 
soul? He did wish to go to the Holy Land; his 
purpose was not in the least faltering; he most de- 
cidedly wished to go to the Holy Land, but he wished 
also to go thither in the company of Lady Bertie and 
Bellair. 

Tancred could not bring himself to desert the only 
being perhaps in England, excepting himself, whose 
heart was at Jerusalem; and that being a woman! 
There seemed something about it unknightly, unkind 
and cowardly, almost base. Lady Bertie was a heroine 
worthy of ancient Christendom rather than of en- 
(204) 



TANCRED 205 

lightened Europe. In the old days, truly the good old 
days, when the magnetic power of Western Asia on 
the Gothic races had been more puissant, her noble 
yet delicate spirit might have been found beneath the 
walls of Ascalon or by the purple waters of Tyre. 
When Tancred first met her, she was dreaming of 
Palestine amid her frequent sadness; he could not, 
utterly void of all self-conceit as he was, be insensible 
to the fact that his sympathy, founded on such a di- 
vine congeniality, had often chased the cloud from 
her brow and lightened the burthen of her drooping 
spirit. If she were sad before, what would she be 
now, deprived of the society of the only being to 
whom she could unfold the spiritual mysteries of her 
romantic soul ? Was such a character to be left alone 
in this world of slang and scrip; of coarse motives 
and coarser words ? Then, too, she was so intelligent 
and so gentle; the only person who understood him, 
and never grated for an instant on his high ideal. 
Her temper also was the sweetest in the world, emi 
nent as her generous spirit. She spoke of others with 
so much kindness, and never indulged in that spirit of 
detraction or that love of personal gossip which Tancred 
had frankly told her he abhorred. Somehow or other 
it seemed that their tastes agreed on everything. 

The agitated Tancred rose from the bed where the 
hope of slumber was vain. The fire in his dressing- 
room was nearly extinguished; wrapped in his cham- 
ber robe, he threw himself into a chair, which he 
drew near the expiring embers, and sighed. 

Unhappy youth! For you commences that great 
hallucination, which all must prove, but which fortu- 
nately can never be repeated, and which, in mockery, 
we call first love. The physical frame has its infantile 



2o6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

disorders; the cough which it must not escape, the 
burning skin which it must encounter. The heart has 
also its childish and cradle malady, which may be 
fatal, but which, if once surmounted, enables the 
patient to meet with becoming power all the real con- 
vulsions and fevers of passion that are the heirloom 
of our after-life. They, too, may bring destruction; 
but, in their case, the cause and the effect are more 
proportioned. The heroine is real, the sympathy is 
wild but at least genuine, the catastrophe is that of a 
ship at sea which sinks with a rich cargo in a noble 
venture. 

In our relations with the softer sex it cannot be 
maintained that ignorance is bliss. On the contrary, 
experience is the best security for enduring love. Love 
at first sight is often a genial and genuine sentiment, 
but first love at first sight is ever eventually branded 
as spurious. Still more so is that first love which 
suffuses less rapidly the spirit of the ecstatic votary, 
when he finds that by degrees his feelings, as the 
phrase runs, have become engaged. Fondness is so 
new to him that he has repaid it with exaggerated 
idolatry, and become intoxicated by the novel gratifi- 
cation of his vanity. Little does he suspect that all 
this time his seventh heaven is but the crapulence of 
self-love. In these cases, it is not merely that every- 
thing is exaggerated, but everything is factitious. 
Simultaneously, the imaginary attributes of the idol 
disappearing, and vanity being satiated, all ends in a 
crash of iconoclastic surfeit. 

The embers became black, the night air had cooled 
the turbulent blood of Lord Montacute, he shivered, 
returned to his couch, and found a deep and invigor- 
ating repose. 



TANCRED 207 

The next morning, about two hours after noon, 
Tancred called on Lady Bertie. As he drove up to 
the door, there came forth from it the foreigner who 
was her companion in the city fray when Tancred 
first saw her and went to her rescue. He recognised 
Lord Montacute, and bowed with much ceremony, 
though with a certain grace and bearing. He was a 
man whose wrinkled visage strangely contrasted with 
his still gallant figure, scrupulously attired; a blue 
frock-coat with a ribboned button-hole, a well-turned 
boot, hat a little too hidalgoish, but quite new. There 
was something respectable and substantial about him, 
notwithstanding his moustaches, and a carriage a de- 
gree too debonair for his years. He did not look like 
a carbonaro or a refugee. Who could he be? 

Tancred had asked himself this question before. 
This was not the first time that he had encountered 
this distinguished foreigner since their first meeting. 
Tancred had seen him before this, quitting the door 
of Lord Bertie and Bellair; had stumbled over him 
before this, more than once, on the staircase; once, 
to his surprise, had met him as he entered the per- 
sonal saloon of Lady Bertie. As it was evident, on 
that occasion, that his visit had been to the lady, it 
was thought necessary to say something, and he had 
been called the Baron, and described, though in a 
somewhat flurried and excited manner, as a particu- 
lar friend, a person in whom they had the most 
entire confidence, who had been most kind to them 
at Paris, putting them in the way of buying the 
rarest china for nothing, and who was now over 
here on some private business of his own, of great 
importance. The Bertie and Bellairs felt immense in- 
terest in his exertions, and wished him every sue- 



2o8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

cess; Lord Bertie particularly. It was not at all 
surprising, considering the innumerable kindnesses 
they had experienced at his hands, was it? 

'Nothing more natural,' replied Tancred; and he 
turned the conversation. 

Lady Bertie was much depressed this morning, so 
much so that it was impossible for Tancred not to 
notice her unequal demeanour. Her hand trembled 
as he touched it; her face, flushed when he entered, 
became deadly pale. 

'You are not well,' he said. 'I fear the open 
carriage last night has made you already repent our 
expedition.' 

She shook her head. It was not the open car- 
riage, which was delightful, nor the expedition, which 
was enchanting, that had affected her. Would that 
life consisted only of such incidents, of barouches 
and whitebait banquets! Alas! no, it was not these. 
But she was nervous, her slumbers had been dis- 
quieted, she had encountered alarming dreams; she 
had a profound conviction that something terrible was 
impending over her. And Tancred took her hand, to 
prevent, if possible, what appeared to be inevitable 
hysterics. But Lady Bertie and Bellair was a strong- 
minded woman, and she commanded herself. 

M can bear anything,' said Tancred, in a trembling 
voice, 'but to see you unhappy.' And he drew his 
chair nearer to hers. 

Her face was hid, her beautiful face in her beau- 
tiful hand. There was silence and then a sigh. 

'Dear lady,' said Lord Montacute. 

'What is it?' murmured Lady Bertie and Bellair. 

'Why do you sigh ?' 

'Because 1 am miserable.' 



TANCRED 209 

'No, no, no, don't use such words,' said the dis- 
tracted Tancred. 'You must not be miserable; you 
shall not be.' 

'Can I help it? Are we not about to part?' 

'We need not part,' he said, in a low voice. 

'Then you will remain?' she said, looking up, 
and her dark brown eyes were fixed with all their 
fascination on the tortured Tancred. 

'Till we all go,' he said, in a soothing voice. 

'That can never be,' said Lady Bertie; 'Augustus 
will never hear of it; he never could be absent more 
than six weeks from London, he misses his clubs 
so. If Jerusalem were only a place one could get at, 
something might be done; if there were a railroad to 
it for example.' 

'A railroad!' exclaimed Tancred, with a look of 
horror. 'A railroad to Jerusalem!' 

'No, I suppose there never can be one,' continued 
Lady Bertie, in a musing tone. ' There is no traffic. 
And I am the victim,' she added, in a thrilling voice; 
' I am left here among people who do not compre- 
hend me, and among circumstances with which I 
can have no sympathy. But go. Lord Montacute, go, 
and be happy, alone. I ought to have been prepared 
for all this; you have not deceived me. You told 
me from the first you were a pilgrim, but I indulged 
in a dream. I believe that I should not only visit 
Palestine, but even visit it with you.' And she 
leant back in her chair and covered her face with 
her hands. 

Tancred rose from his seat, and paced the cham- 
ber. His heart seemed to burst. 

'What is all this?' he thought. 'How came all 
this to occur? How has arisen this singular combi- 



2IO BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

nation of unforeseen causes and undreamed-of circum- 
stances, which baffles all my plans and resolutions, and 
seems, as it were, without my sanction and my agency, 
to be taking possession of my destiny and life? I am 
bewildered, confounded, incapable of thought or deed.' 

His tumultuous reverie was broken by the sobs of 
Lady Bertie. 

'By heaven, I cannot endure this!' said Tancred, 
advancing. ' Death seems to me preferable to her un- 
happiness. Dearest of women!' 

'Do not call me that,' she murmured. 'I can bear 
anything from your lips but words of fondness. And 
pardon all this; I am not myself to-day. I had thought 
that I had steeled myself to all, to our inevitable 
separation; but I have mistaken myself, at least mis- 
calculated my strength. It is weak; it is very weak 
and very foolish, but you must pardon it. I am too 
much interested in your career to wish you to delay 
your departure a moment for my sake. I can bear 
our separation, at least I think I can. I shall quit 
the world, for ever. I should have done so had we 
not met. I was on the point of doing so when we 
did meet, when, when my dream was at length 
realised. Go, go; do not stay. Bless you, and 
write to me, if I be alive to receive your letters.' 

'1 cannot leave her,' thought the harrowed Tan- 
cred. ' It never shall be said of me that I could 
blight a woman's life, or break her heart.' But, just 
as he was advancing, the door opened, and a servant 
brought in a note, and, without looking at Tancred, 
who had turned to the window, disappeared. The 
desolation and despair which had been impressed on 
the countenance of Lady Bertie and Bellair vanished 
in an instant, as she recognised the handwriting of 



TANCRED 211 

her correspondent. They were succeeded by an ex- 
pression of singular excitement. She tore open the 
note; a stupor seemed to spread over her features, 
and, giving a faint shriek, she fell into a swoon. 

Tancred rushed to her side; she was quite insen- 
sible, and pale as alabaster. The note, which was 
only two lines, was open and extended in her hands. 
It was from no idle curiosity, but it was impossible 
for Tancred not to read it. He had one of those eagle 
visions that nothing could escape, and, himself ex- 
tremely alarmed, it was the first object at which he 
unconsciously glanced in his agitation to discover the 
cause and the remedy for this crisis. The note ran 
thus: 

' ^ o'clock. 

' The 'Narrow Gauge has won. We are utterly 
done; and Snicks tells me you bought Jive hundred 
more yesterday, at ten. Is it possible ? 

' F.' 

'Is it possible?' echoed Tancred, as, entrusting 
Lady Bertie to her maid, he rapidly descended the 
staircase of her mansion. He almost ran to Davies 
Street, where he jumped into a cab, not permitting 
the driver to descend to let him in. 

'Where to?' asked the driver. 

'The city.' 

'What part?' 

'Never mind; near the Bank.' 

Alighting from the cab, Tancred hurried to Sequin 
Court and sent in his card to Sidonia, who in a few 
moments received him. As he entered the great fi- 
nancier's room, there came out of it the man called 
in Brook Street the Baron. 

'Well, how did your dinner go off?' said Sidonia. 



212 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

looking with some surprise at the disturbed counte- 
nance of Tancred, 

* It seems very ridiculous, very impertinent I fear 
you will think it,' said Tancred, in a hesitating con- 
fused manner, 'but that person, that person who has 
just left the room; I have a particular reason, I have 
the greatest desire, to know who that person is.' 

'That is a French capitalist,' replied Sidonia, with 
a slight smile, ' an eminent French capitalist, the 
Baron Villebecque de Chateau Neuf. He wants me 
to support him in a great railroad enterprise in his 
country: a new line to Strasbourg, and looks to a 
great traffic, I suppose, in pasties. But this cannot 
much interest you. What do you want really to 
know about him ? 1 can tell you everything. 1 have 
been acquainted with him for years. He was the in- 
tendant of Lord Monmouth, who left him thirty thou- 
sand pounds, and he set up upon this at Paris as a 
millionaire. He is in the way of becoming one, has 
bought lands, is a deputy and a baron. He is rather 
a fiivourite of mine,' added Sidonia, 'and I have been 
able, perhaps, to assist him, for I knew him long be- 
fore Lord Monmouth did, in a very different position 
from that which he now fills, though not one for 
which I have less respect. He was a fine comic 
actor in the courtly parts, and the most celebrated 
manager in Europe; always a fearful speculator, but 
he is an honest fellow, and has a good heart.' 

'He is a great friend of Lady Bertie and Bellair,' 
said Tancred, rather hesitatingly. 

'Naturally,' said Sidonia. 

'She also,' said Tancred, with a becalmed counte- 
nance, but a palpitating heart, 'is, I believe, much 
interested in railroads?' 



TANCRED 213 

' She is the most inveterate female gambler in Eu- 
rope,' said Sidonia, 'whatever shape her speculations 
take. Villebecque is a great ally of hers. He always 
had a weakness for the English aristocracy, and re- 
members that he owed his fortune to one of them. 
Lady Bertie was in great tribulation this year at Paris: 
that was the reason she did not come over before 
Easter; and Villebecque extricated her from a scrape. 
He would assist her now if he could. By-the-bye, 
the day that I had the pleasure of making your ac- 
quaintance, she was here with Villebecque, an hour 
at my door, but 1 could not see her; she pesters me, 
too, with her letters. But I do not like feminine 
finance. I hope the worthy baron will be discreet in 
his alliance with her, for her affairs, which I know, 
as I am obliged to know every one's, happen to be 
at this moment most critical.' 

'I am trespassing on you,' said Tancred, after a 
painful pause, 'but I am about to set sail.' 

'When?' 

'To-morrow; to-day, if I could; and you were so 
kind as to promise me ' 

' A letter of introduction and a letter of credit. I 
have not forgotten, and I will write them for you at 
once.' And Sidonia took up his pen and wrote: 

A Letter of Introduction, 

To Alonio Lara, Spanish Prior, at the Convent of 
Terra Santa at Jerusalem. 

'Most holy Father: The youth who will deliver 
to you this is a pilgrim who aspires to penetrate the 
great Asian mystery. Be to him what you were to 



214 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

me; and may the God of Sinai, in whom we all be- 
lieve, guard over you, and prosper his enterprise! 

'SiDONIA. 

'London, May, 1845.' 

'You can read Spanish,' said Sidonia, giving him 
the letter. 'The other 1 shall write in Hebrew, which 
you will soon read.' 



A Letter of Credit. 

To Adam Besso at Jerusalem. 

'London, May, 1845. 
'My good Adam: If the youth who bears this re- 
quire advances, let him have as much gold as would 
make the right-hand lion on the first step of the 
throne of Solomon the king; and if he want more, let 
him have as much as would form the lion that is on 
the left; and so on, through every stair of the royal 
seat. For all which will be responsible to you the 
child of Israel, who among the Gentiles is called 

'Sidonia.' 




I 

1 



i 







i)pjf/'''MI904:tnf U-WaM-fr Dujtnii. 



AFTER AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY HERMAN ROUNTREE 



He zi'iis about to rise. 

(See page 26.) 



TANCRED 

OR 

The New Crusade 



BY 

BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

EARL OF BEACONSFIELD 



VOLUME II. 



M. WALTER DUNNE 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 



I 



Copyright, 1904, by 

M. WALTER DUNNE 

Entered at Stationers' Hall. London 



'i- X 



nt^ 



CONTENTS 



TANCRED 

OR 

THE NEW CRUSADE 

(Continued.) 

Chapter XXIII. page 

JERUSALEM BY MOONLIGHT I 

Chapter XXIV. 

A GATHERING OF SAGES 8 

Chapter XXV. 

GETHSEMANE 1 7 

Chapter XXVI. 

THE LADY OF BETHANY 22 

Chapter XXVII. 

FAKREDEEN AND THE ROSE OF SHARON . . 39 

Chapter XXVIII. 

BESSO, THE BANKER 56 

Chapter XXIX. 

CAPTURE OF THE NEW CRUSADER ... 72 

Chapter XXX. 

PLANS FOR RESCUE . , 88 

Chapter XXXI. 

PARLEYINGS 97 

(vii) V>^ 



vili CONTENTS 

Chapter XXXII. page 

SUSPENSE no 

Chapter XXXIII. 

A PILGRIM TO MOUNT SINAI 1 23 

Chapter XXXIV. 

IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW . . . I35 

Chapter XXXV. 

THE NEW CRUSADER IN PERIL I45 

Chapter XXXVI. 

THE angel's MESSAGE . 1 55 

Chapter XXXVII. 

fakredeen is curious 160 

Chapter XXXVIII. 

tancred's recovery 172 

Chapter XXXIX. 

FREEDOM 184 

Chapter XL. 

THE romantic STORY OF BARONI . . . 189 

Chapter XLI. 

THE mountains OF LEBANON 21 7 

Chapter XLII. 

strange ceremonies 22^ 

Chapter XLIII. 

festivities in canobia 235 

Chapter XLIV. 

fakredeen's debts 256 

Chapter XLV. 

the people of ansarey 266 

Chapter XLVI. 

THE LAURELLAS 27 1 



CONTENTS ix 

Chapter XLVII. page 

the feast of tabernacles 284 

Chapter XLVIII. 

EVAS affianced BRIDEGROOM .... 29I 

Chapter XLIX. 

a discussion about scammony . . . . 3oi 
Chapter L. 

the mysterious mountains .... 309 
Chapter LI. 

ql'een of the ansarey 319 

Chapter LII. 

A ROYAL audience 323 

Chapter Llll. 

fakredeen's plots 335 

Chapter LIV. 

astarte is jealous 344 

Chapter LV. 

capture of a harem 355 

Chapter LVl. 

EVA A captive 364 

Chapter LVII. 

message of the pasha 375 

Chapter LVIII. 

three letters of cabala 388 

Chapter LIX. 

TANCRED returns to JERUSALEM . . . 395 

Chapter LX. 

the road to bethany 402 

Chapter LXI. 

ARRIVAL of the DUKE AND DUCHESS . . 4II 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



HE WAS ABOUT TO RISE. (See page 26) . . Frontispiece 
SHEIKH HASSAN SUDDENLY HURLED HIS SPEAR ... 8^ 

AND THERE APPEARED TO HIM A FORM I57 



(xi) 



TANCRED 

OR 

THE NEW CRUSADE 

( CONTINUED ) 



CHAPTER XXIII 




ERUSALEM BY MOONLIGHT. 

HE broad moon lingers on the sum- 
mit of Mount Olivet, but its beam 
has long left the garden of Geth- 
semane and the tomb of Absa- 
lom, the waters of Kedron and the 
dark abyss of Jehoshaphat. Full falls 
its splendour, however, on the opposite city, vivid 
and defined in its silver blaze. A lofty wall, with 
turrets and towers and frequent gates, undulates with 
the unequal ground which it covers, as it encircles 
the lost capital of Jehovah. It is a city of hills, far 
more famous than those of Rome: for all Europe has 
heard of Sion and of Calvary, while the Arab and the 
Assyrian, and the tribes and nations beyond, are as 
ignorant of the Capitolian and Aventine Mounts as 
they are of the Malvern or the Chiltern Hills. 

16 B. D.-i ( 1 ) 



2 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The broad steep of Sion crowned with the tower 
of David; nearer still, Mount Moriah, with the gor- 
geous temple of the God of Abraham, but built, alas! 
by the child of Hagar, and not by Sarah's chosen one; 
close to its cedars and its cypresses, its lofty spires 
and airy arches, the moonlight falls upon Bethesda's 
pool; further on, entered by the gate of St. Stephen, 
the eye, though 'tis the noon of night, traces with 
ease the Street of Grief, a long winding ascent to a 
vast cupolaed pile that now covers Calvary, called the 
Street of Grief because there the most illustrious of 
the human, as well as of the Hebrew, race, the de- 
scendant of King David, and the divine Son of the most 
favoured of women, twice sank under that burden of 
suffering and shame which is now throughout all 
Christendom the emblem of triumph and of honour; 
passing over groups and masses of houses built of 
stone, with terraced roofs, or surmounted with small 
domes, we reach the hill of Salem, where Melchisedek 
built his mystic citadel; and still remains the hill of 
Scopas, where Titus gazed upon Jerusalem on the 
eve of his final assault. Titus destroyed the temple. 
The religion of Judaea has in turn subverted the fanes 
which were raised to his father and to himself in 
their imperial capital; and the God of Abraham, of 
Isaac, and of Jacob is now worshipped before every 
altar in Rome. 

Jerusalem by moonlight! 'Tis a fine spectacle, 
apart from all its indissoluble associations of awe and 
beauty. The mitigating hour softens the austerity of 
a mountain landscape magnificent in outline, however 
harsh and severe in detail; and, while it retains all 
its sublimity, removes much of the savage sternness 
of the strange and unrivalled scene. A fortified city. 



TANCRED 3 

almost surrounded by ravines, and rising in the centre 
of chains of far-spreading hills, occasionally offering, 
through their rocky glens, the gleams of a distant and 
richer land! 

The moon has sunk behind the Mount of Olives, 
and the stars in the darker sky shine doubly bright 
over the sacred city. The all-pervading stillness is 
broken by a breeze that seems to have travelled over 
the plain of Sharon from the sea. it wails among the 
tombs, and sighs among the cypress groves. The 
palm-tree trembles as it passes, as if it were a spirit 
of woe. Is it the breeze that has travelled over the 
plain of Sharon from the sea ? 

Or is it the haunting voice of prophets mourning 
over the city that they could not save ? Their spirits 
surely would linger on the land where their Creator 
had deigned to dwell, and over whose impending fate 
Omnipotence had shed human tears. From this 
Mount! Who can but believe that, at the midnight 
hour, from the summit of the Ascension, the great 
departed of Israel assemble to gaze upon the battle- 
ments of their mystic city.? There might be counted 
heroes and sages, who need shrink from no rivalry 
with the brightest and the wisest of other lands; but 
the lawgiver of the time of the Pharaohs, whose laws 
are still obeyed; the monarch, whose reign has ceased 
for three thousand years, but whose wisdom is a 
proverb in all nations of the earth; the teacher, whose 
doctrines have modelled civilised Europe; the greatest 
of legislators, the greatest of administrators, and the 
greatest of reformers; what race, extinct or living, 
can produce three such men as these? 

The last light is extinguished in the village of 
Bethany. The wailing breeze has become a moaning 



4 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

wind; a white film spreads over the purple sky; the 
stars are veiled, the stars are hid; all becomes as dark 
as the waters of Kedron and the valley of Jehosha- 
phat. The tower of David merges into obscurity; no 
longer glitter the minarets of the mosque of Omar; 
Bethesda's angelic waters, the gate of Stephen, the 
street of sacred sorrow, the hill of Salem, and the 
heights of Scopas can no longer be discerned. Alone 
in the increasing darkness, while the very line of the 
walls gradually eludes the eye, the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre is a beacon light. 

And why is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre a 
beacon light.? Why, when is it already past the noon 
of darkness, when every soul slumbers in Jerusalem, 
and not a sound disturbs the deep repose, except the 
howl of the wild dog crying to the wilder wind; 
why is the cupola of the sanctuary illumined, though 
the hour has long since been numbered when pil- 
grims there kneel and monks pray? 

An armed Turkish guard are bivouacked in the 
court of the Church; within the Church itself, two 
brethren of the convent of Terra Santa keep holy 
watch and ward; while, at the tomb beneath, there 
kneels a solitary youth, who prostrated himself at 
sunset, and who will there pass unmoved the whole 
of the sacred night. 

Yet the pilgrim is not in communion with the 
Latin Church; neither is he of the Church Armenian, 
or the Church Greek; Maronite, Coptic, or Abyssin- 
ian; these also are Christian churches which cannot 
call him child. 

He comes from a distant and a northern isle to 
bow before the tomb of a descendant of the kings of 
Israel, because he, in common with all the people of 



TANCRED 5 

that isle, recognises in that sublime Hebrew incarna- 
tion the presence of a Divine Redeemer. Then why 
does he come alone ? It is not that he has availed 
himself of the inventions of modern science to repair 
first to a spot which all his countrymen may equally 
desire to visit, and thus anticipate their hurrying ar- 
rival. Before the inventions of modern science, all his 
countrymen used to flock hither. Then why do they 
not now? Is the Holy Land no longer hallowed ? Is 
it not the land of sacred and mysterious truths ? The 
land of heavenly messages and earthly miracles? The 
land of prophets and apostles? Is it not the land 
upon whose mountains the Creator of the Universe 
parleyed with man, and the flesh of whose anointed 
race He mystically assumed, when He struck the last 
blow at the powers of evil? Is it to be believed 
that there are no peculiar and eternal qualities in a 
land thus visited, which distinguish it from all others? 
That Palestine is like Normandy or Yorkshire, or even 
Attica or Rome. 

There may be some who maintain this; there have 
been some, and those, too, among the wisest and the 
wittiest of the northern and western races, who, 
touched by a presumptuous jealousy of the long pre- 
dominance of that oriental intellect to which they 
owed their civilisation, would have persuaded them- 
selves and the world that the traditions of Sinai and 
Calvary were fables. Half a century ago, Europe 
made a violent and apparently successful effort to dis- 
embarrass itself of its Asian faith. The most power- 
ful and the most civilised of its kingdoms, about to 
conquer the rest, shut up its churches, desecrated its 
altars, massacred and persecuted their sacred serv- 
ants, and announced that the Hebrew creeds which 



6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Simon Peter brought from Palestine, and which his 
successors revealed to Clovis, were a mockery and a 
fiction. What has been the result? in every city, 
town, village, and hamlet of that great kingdom, the 
divine image of the most illustrious of Hebrews has 
been again raised amid the homage of kneeling mil- 
lions; while, in the heart of its bright and witty cap- 
ital, the nation has erected the most gorgeous of 
modern temples, and consecrated its marble and 
golden walls to the name, and memory, and celestial 
efficacy of a Hebrew woman. 

The country of which the solitary pilgrim, kneel- 
ing at this moment at the Holy Sepulchre, was a na- 
tive, had not actively shared in that insurrection 
against the first and second Testament which dis- 
tinguished the end of the eighteenth century. But, 
more than six hundred years before, it had sent its 
king, and the flower of its peers and people, to res- 
cue Jerusalem from those whom they considered infi- 
dels! and now, instead of the third crusade, they 
expend their superfluous energies in the construction 
of railroads. 

The failure of the European kingdom of Jerusalem, 
on which such vast treasure, such prodigies of valour, 
and such ardent belief had been wasted, has been one 
of those circumstances which have tended to disturb 
the faith of Europe, although it should have carried 
convictions of a very different character. The Crusad- 
ers looked upon the Saracens as infidels, whereas 
the children of the desert bore a much nearer affinity 
to the sacred corpse that had, for a brief space, con- 
secrated the Holy Sepulchre, than any of the invading 
host of Europe. The same blood flowed in their 
veins, and they recognised the divine missions both 



TANCRED 7 

of Moses and of his great successor. In an age so 
deficient in physiological learning as the twelfth cen- 
tury, the mysteries of race were unknown. Jerusa- 
lem, it cannot be doubted, will ever remain the 
appanage either of Israel or of Ishmael; and if, in the 
course of those great vicissitudes which are no doubt 
impending for the East, there be any attempt to place 
upon the throne of David a prince of the House of 
Coburg or Deuxponts, the same fate will doubtless 
await him as, with all their brilliant qualities and all 
the sympathy of Europe, was the final doom of the 
Godfreys, the Baldwins, and the Lusignans. 

Like them, the ancestor of the kneeling pilgrim 
had come to Jerusalem with his tall lance and his 
burnished armour; but his descendant, though not less 
daring and not less full of faith, could profit by the 
splendid but fruitless achievements of the first Tancred 
de Montacute. Our hero came on this new crusade 
with an humble and contrite spirit, to pour forth his 
perplexities and sorrows on the tomb of his Re- 
deemer, and to ask counsel of the sacred scenes which 
the presence of that Redeemer and his great prede- 
cessors had consecrated. 





CHAPTER XXIV. 
A Gathering of Sages. 

EAR the gate of Sion there is a 
small, still, hilly street, the houses 
of which, as is general in the East, 
present to the passenger, with the 
exception of an occasional portal, 
only blank walls, built, as they are 
at Jerusalem, of stone, and very lofty. These walls 
commonly enclose a court, and, though their exterior 
offers always a sombre and often squalid appearance, 
it by no means follows that within you may not be 
welcomed with cheerfulness and even luxury. 

At this moment a man in the Syrian dress, turban 
and flowing robe, is passing through one of the 
gateways of this street, and entering the large quad- 
rangle to which it leads. It is surrounded by arcades; 
on one side indications of commerce, piles of chests, 
cases, and barrels; the other serving for such simple 
stables as are sufficient in the East. Crossing this 
quadrangle, the stranger passed by a corridor into a 
square garden of orange and lemon trees and foun- 
tains. This garden court was surrounded by inhab- 
ited chambers, and, at the end of it, passing through 
a low arch at the side, and then mounting a few 
(8) 



TANCRED 9 

steps, he was at once admitted into a spacious and 
stately chamber. Its lofty ceiling was vaulted and 
lightly painted in arabesque; its floor was of white 
marble, varied with mosaics of* fruit and flowers; it 
was panelled with cedar, and in six of the principal 
panels were Arabic inscriptions emblazoned in blue 
and gold. At the top of this hall, and ranging down 
its two sides, was a divan or seat, raised about one 
foot from the ground, and covered with silken cush- 
ions; and the marble floor before this divan was 
spread at intervals with small bright Persian carpets. 

In this chamber some half dozen persons were 
seated in the Eastern fashion, and smoking either the 
choice tobaccoes of Syria through the cherry-wood or 
jasmine tube of a Turkish or Egyptian chibouque, or 
inhaling through rose-water the more artificial flavour 
of the nargileh, which is the hookah of the Levant. 
If a guest found his pipe exhausted, he clapped his 
hands, and immediately a negro page appeared, 
dressed in scarlet or in white, and, learning his pleas- 
ure, returned in a few moments, and bowing pre- 
sented him with a fresh and illumined chibouque. 
At intervals, these attendants appeared without a 
summons, and offered cups of Mocha coffee or vases 
of sherbet. 

The lord of this divan, who was seated at the 
upper end of the room, reclining on embroidered 
cushions of various colours, and using a nargileh of 
fine workmanship, was a man much above the com- 
mon height, being at least six feet two without his 
red cap of Fez, though so well proportioned, that you 
would not at the first glance give him credit for such 
a stature. He was extremely handsome, retaining 
ample remains of one of those countenances of blended 



lo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

regularity and lustre which are found only in the 
cradle of the human race. Though he was fifty years 
of age, time had scarcely brought a wrinkle to his 
still brilliant complexion, while his large, soft, dark 
eyes, his arched brow, his well-proportioned nose, his 
small mouth and oval cheek presented altogether one 
of those faces which, in spite of long centuries of 
physical suffering and moral degradation, still haunt 
the cities of Asia Minor, the isles of Greece, and the 
Syrian coasts. It is the archetype of manly beauty, 
the tradition of those races who have wandered the 
least from Paradise; and who, notwithstanding many 
vicissitudes and much misery, are still acted upon by 
the same elemental agencies as influenced the Patri- 
archs; are warmed by the same sun, freshened by the 
same air, and nourished by the same earth as cheered 
and invigorated and sustained the earlier generations. 
The costume of the East certainly does not exaggerate 
the fatal progress of time; if a figure becomes too 
portly, the flowing robe conceals the incumbrance 
which is aggravated by a western dress; he, too, 
who wears a turban has little dread of grey hairs; a 
grizzly beard indeed has few charms, but whether it 
were the lenity of time or the skill of his barber in 
those arts in which Asia is as experienced as Europe, 
the beard of the master of the divan became the rest 
of his appearance, and flowed to his waist in rich 
dark curls, lending additional dignity to a countenance 
of which the expression was at the same time grand 
and benignant. 

Upon the right of the master of the divan was, 
smoking a jasmine pipe, Scheriff Effendi, an Egyptian 
merchant, of Arab race, a dark face in a white tur- 
ban, mild and imperturbable, and seated as erect on 



TANCRED II 

his crossed legs as if he were administering justice; a 
remarkable contrast to the individual who was on the 
left of the host, who might have been mistaken for a 
mass of brilliant garments huddled together, had not 
the gurgling sound of the nargileh occasionally assured 
the spectator that it was animated by human breath. 
This person was apparently lying on his back, his 
face hid, his form not to be traced, a wild confusion 
of shawls and cushions, out of which, like some wily 
and dangerous reptile, glided the spiral involutions of 
his pipe. Next to the invisible sat a little wiry man 
with a red nose, sparkling eyes, and a white beard. 
His black turban intimated that he was a Hebrew, 
and indeed he was well known as Barizy of the 
Tower, a description which he had obtained from his 
residence near the Tower of David, and which dis- 
tinguished him from his cousin, who was called 
Barizy of the Gate. Further on an Armenian from 
Stamboul, in his dark robes and black protuberant 
head-dress, resembling a colossal truffle, solaced him- 
self with a cherry stick which reminded him of the 
Bosphorus, and he found a companion in this fashion 
in the young officer of a French brig-of-war an- 
chored at Beiroot, and who had obtained leave to 
visit the Holy Land, as he was anxious to see the 
women of Bethlehem, of whose beauty he had heard 
much. 

As the new comer entered the hall, he shuffled off 
his slippers at the threshold, and then advancing, and 
pressing a hand to his brow, his mouth and his heart, 
a salutation which signifies that in thought, speech, 
and feeling he was faithful to his host, and which 
salutation was immediately returned, he took his seat 
upon the divan, and the master of the house, letting 



12 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the flexible tube of his nargileh fall on one of the 
cushions, and clapping his hands, a page immediately 
brought a pipe to the new guest. This was Signor 
Pasqualigo, one of those noble Venetian names that 
every now and then turn up in the Levant, and borne 
in the present case by a descendant of a family who 
for centuries had enjoyed a monopoly of some of the 
smaller consular offices of the Syrian coast. Signor 
Pasqualigo had installed his son as deputy in the am- 
biguous agency at Jaffa, which he described as a vice- 
consulate, and himself principally resided at Jerusalem, 
of which he was the prime gossip, or second only to 
his rival, Barizy of the Tower. He had only taken a 
preliminary puff of his chibouque, to be convinced 
that there was no fear of its being extinguished, before 
he said, 

'So there was a fine pilgrimage last night; the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre lighted up from sunset 
to sunrise, an extra guard in the court, and only the 
Spanish prior and two brethren permitted to enter. 
It must be 10,000 piastres at least in the coffers of 
the Terra Santa. Well, they want something! It 
is a long time since we have had a Latin pilgrim in 
El Khuds.' 

'And they say, after all, that this was not a Latin 
pilgrim,' said Barizy of the Tower. 

'He could not have been one of my people,' said 
the Armenian, 'or he never would have gone to the 
Holy Sepulchre with the Spanish prior.' 

'Had he been one of your people,' said Pasqua- 
ligo, 'he could not have paid 10,000 piastres for a pil- 
grimage.' 

'1 am sure a Greek never would,' said Barizy, 'un- 
less he were a Russian prince.' 



TANCRED 13 

'And a Russian does not care much for rosa- 
ries unless tiiey are made of diamonds,' said Pas- 
qualigo. 

'As far as I can make out this morning,' said 
Barizy of the Tower, 'it is a brother of the Queen of 
England.' 

'I was thinking it might be that,' said Pasqualigo, 
nettled at his rival's early information, 'the moment 
I heard he was an Englishman.' 

'The English do not believe in the Holy Sepul- 
chre,' said the Armenian, calmly. 

'They do not believe in our blessed Saviour,' said 
Pasqualigo, 'but they do believe in the Holy Sepul- 
chre.' 

Pasqualigo's strong point was theology, and there 
were few persons in Jerusalem who on this head ven- 
tured to maintain an argument with him. 

' How do you know that the pilgrim is an English- 
man.?' asked their host. 

'Because his servants told me so,' said Pasqualigo. 

' He has got an English general for the principal 
officer of his household,' said Barizy, 'which looks 
like blood royal; a very fine man, who passes the 
whole day at the English consulate.* 

'They have taken a house in the Via Dolorosa,' 
said Pasqualigo. 

' Of Hassan Nejed ? ' continued Barizy of the Tower, 
clutching the words out of his rival's grasp; 'Hassan 
asked five thousand piastres per month, and they gave 
it. What think you of that.?' 

'He must indeed be an Englishman,' said Scheriff 
Effendi, taking his pipe slowly from his mouth. 
There was a dead silence when he spoke; he was 
much respected. 



14 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'He is very young,' said Barizy of tiie Tower; 
'younger than the Queen, which is one reason why 
he is not on the throne, for in England the eldest 
always succeeds, except in moveables, and those al- 
ways go to the youngest.' 

Barizy of the Tower, though he gave up to Pas- 
qualigo in theology, partly from delicacy, being a Jew, 
would yield to no man in Jerusalem in his knowl- 
edge of law. 

'If he goes on at this rate,' said the Armenian, 
'he will soon spend all his money; this place is 
dearer than Stamboul.' 

'There is no fear of his spending all his money,' 
said their host, 'for the young man has brought me 
such a letter that if he were to tell me to rebuild the 
temple, I must do it.' 

'And who is this young man, Besso?' exclaimed 
the Invisible, starting up, and himself exhibiting a 
youthful countenance; fair, almost effeminate, no 
beard, a slight moustache, his features too delicate, 
but his brow finely arched, and his blue eye glitter- 
ing with fire. 

'He is an English lord,' said Besso, 'and one of 
the greatest; that is all I know.' 

'And why does he come here.?' inquired the 
youth. 'The English do not make pilgrimages.' 

'Yet you have heard what he has done.' 

' And why is this silent Frenchman smoking your 
Latakia,' he continued in a low voice. 'He comes 
to Jerusalem at the same time as this Englishman. 
There is more in this than meets our eye. You do 
not know the northern nations. They exist only in 
political combinations. You are not a politician, my 
Besso. Depend upon it, we shall hear more of this 



TANCRED 15 

Englishman, and of his doing something else than 
praying at the Holy Sepulchre.' 

' It may be so, most noble Emir, but as you say, 
I am no politician.' 

'Would that you were, my Besso! It would be 
well for you and for all of us. See now,' he added 
in a whisper, 'that apparently inanimate mass, ScherifT 
Effendi — that man has a political head, he under- 
stands a combination, he is going to smuggle me 
five thousand English muskets into the desert, he 
will deliver them to a Bedouin tribe, who have 
engaged to convey them safely to the Mountain. 
There, what do you think of that, my Besso ? Do you 
know now what are politics ? Tell the Rose of 
Sharon of it. She will say it is beautiful. Ask the 
Rose what she thinks of it, my Besso.' 

'Well, I shall see her to-morrow.' 

'I have done well; have I not?' 

'You are satisfied; that is well.' 

'Not quite, my Besso; but I can be satisfied if 
you please. You see that ScherifT Effendi there, sit- 
ting like an Afrite; he will not give me the muskets 
unless I pay him for them; and the Bedouin chief, 
he will not carry the arms unless 1 give him 10,000 
piastres. Now, if you will pay these people for me, 
my Besso, and deduct the expenses from my Leba- 
non loan when it is negotiated, that would be a 
great service. Now, now, my Besso, shall it be 
done?' he continued with the coaxing voice and with 
the wheedling manner of a girl. 'You shall have 
any terms you like, and 1 will always love you so, 
my Besso. Let it be done, let it be done! I will go 
down on my knees and kiss your hand before the 
Frenchman, which will spread your fame throughout 



i6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Europe, and make Louis Philippe take you for the 
first man in Syria, if you will do it for me. Dear, 
dear Besso, you will pay that old camel Scheriff Ef- 
fendi for me, will you not? and please the Rose of 
Sharon as much as me!' 

'My prince,' said Besso, 'have a fresh pipe; I 
never can transact business after sunset.' 

The reader will remember that Sidonia had given 
Tancred a letter of credit on Besso. He is the same 
Besso who was the friend at Jerusalem of Contarini 
Fleming, and this is the same chamber in which 
Contarini, his host, and others who were present, in- 
scribed one night, before their final separation, certain 
sentences in the panels of the walls. The original 
writing remains, but Besso, as we have already seen, 
has had the sentences emblazoned in a manner more 
permanent and more striking to the eye. They may, 
however, be both seen by all those who visit Jerusa- 
lem, and who enjoy the flowing hospitality and expe- 
rience the boundless benevolence of this prince of 
Hebrew merchants. 





CHAPTER XXV. 

Gethsemane. 

t HE Christian convents form one of 
the most remarkable features of 
modern Jerusalem. There are three 
principal ones; the Latin Convent 
of Terra Santa, founded, it is be- 
lieved, during the last crusade, and 
richly endowed by the kings of Christendom; the Ar- 
menian and the Greek convents, whose revenues are 
also considerable, but derived from the numerous pil- 
grims of their different churches, who annually visit 
the Holy Sepulchre, and generally during their sojourn 
reside within the walls of their respective religious 
houses. To be competent to supply such accommo- 
dation, it will easily be apprehended that they are of 
considerable size. They are in truth monastic estab- 
lishments of the first class, as large as citadels, and 
almost as strong. Lofty stone walls enclose an area 
of acres, in the centre of which rises an irregular 
mass of buildings and enclosures; courts of all shapes, 
galleries of cells, roofs, terraces, gardens, corridors, 
churches, houses, and even streets. Sometimes as 
many as five thousand pilgrims have been lodged, 
fed, and tended during Easter in one of these con- 
vents. 

16 B. D.— 2 ( 17 ) 



i8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Not in that of Terra Santa, of which a Protestant 
traveller, passing for a pilgrim, is often the only annual 
guest; as Tancred at present. In a whitewashed cell, 
clean, and sufficiently airy and spacious, Tancred was 
lying on an iron bedstead, the only permanent furniture 
of the chamber, with the exception of a crucifix, but 
well suited to the fervent and procreative clime. He 
was smoking a Turkish pipe, which stretched nearly 
across the apartment, and his Italian attendant, Baroni, 
on one knee, was arranging the bowl. 

' I begin rather to like it,' said Tancred. 

' 1 am sure you would, my lord. In this country 
it is like mother's milk, nor is it possible to make 
way without it. 'Tis the finest tobacco of Latakia, 
the choicest in the world, and I have smoked all. I 
begged it myself from Signor Besso, whose divan is 
renowned, the day I called on him with your lord- 
ship's letter.' 

Saying this, Baroni quickly rose (a man from thirty- 
two to thirty-five) ; rather under the middle height, 
slender, lithe, and pliant; a long black beard, cleared 
off his chin when in Europe, and concealed under his 
cravat, but always ready for the Orient; whiskers 
closely shaved but strongly marked, sallow, an aquiline 
nose, white teeth, a sparkling black eye. His cos- 
tume entirely white, fashion Mamlouk, that is to say, 
trousers of a prodigious width, and a light jacket; a 
white shawl wound round his waist, enclosing his 
dagger; another forming his spreading turban. Tem- 
perament, remarkable vivacity modified by extraordi- 
nary experience. 

Availing himself of the previous permission of his 
master, Baroni, having arranged the pipe, seated him- 
self cross-legged on the floor. 



TANCRED 19 

'And what are they doing about the house?' in- 
quired Tancred. 

'They will be all stowed to-day,' replied Baroni. 

'1 shall not quit this place,' said Tancred; 'I wish 
to be quite undisturbed.' 

'Be not alarmed, my lord; they are amused. The 
colonel never quits the consulate; dines there every 
day, and tells stories about the Peninsular war and 
the Bellamont cavalry, just as he did on board. Mr. 
Bernard is always with the English bishop, who is 
delighted to have an addition to his congregation, 
which is not too much, consisting of his own family, 
the English and Prussian consuls, and five Jews, 
whom they have converted at twenty piastres a- week; 
but 1 know they are going to strike for wages. As 
for the doctor, he has not a minute to himself The 
governor's wife has already sent for him; he has been 
admitted to the harem; has felt all their pulses with- 
out seeing any of their f^ices, and his medicine chest 
is in danger of being exhausted before your lordship 
requires its aid.' 

'Take care that they are comfortable,' said Tancred. 

'And what does your lordship wish to do to- 
day ?' 

*I must go to Gethsemane.' 

"Tis the shot of an arrow; go out by the gate of 
Sion, pass through the Turkish cemetery, cross the 
Kedron, which is so dry this weather that you may 
do so in your slippers, and you will find the remnant 
of an olive grove at the base of the mount.' 

'You talk as if you were giving a direction in 
London.' 

' I wish 1 knew London as well as I know Jeru- 
salem! This is not a very great place, and 1 think I 



20 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

have been here twenty times. Why, I made eight 
visits here in '40 and '41; twice from England, and 
six times from Egypt.' 

'Active work!' 

'Ah! those were times! If the Pasha had taken 
M. de Sidonia's advice, in '41, something would have 

happened in this city ' And here Baroni pulled 

up: 'Your lordship's pipe draws easy?' 

'Very well. And when was your first visit here, 
Baroni ? ' 

' When M. de Sidonia travelled. I came in his 
suite from Naples, eighteen years ago, the next An- 
nunciation of our blessed Lady,' and he crossed him- 
self. 

'You must have been very young then?' 

' Young enough; but it was thought, I suppose, 
that I could light a pipe. We were seven when we 
left Naples, all picked men; but 1 was the only one 
who was in Paraguay with M. de Sidonia, and that 
was nearly the end of our travels, which lasted five 
years.' 

' And what became of the rest ? ' 

'Got ill or got stupid; no mercy in either case 
with M. de Sidonia, packed off instantly, wherever 
you may be; whatever money you like, but go you 
must. If you were in the middle of the desert, and 
the least grumbling, you would be spliced on a 
camel, and a Bedouin tribe would be hired to take 
you to the nearest city, Damascus or Jerusalem, or 
anywhere, with an order on Signor Besso, or some 
other signor, to pay them.' 

'And you were never invalided?' 

'Never; I was young and used to tumble about as 
long as I can remember day; but it was sharp prac- 



TANCRED 21 

tice sometimes; five years of such work as few men 
have been through. It educated me and opened my 
mind amazingly.' 

' It seems to have done so,' said Tancred, quietly. 

Shortly after this, Tancred, attended by Baroni, 
passed the gate of Sion. Not a human being was 
visible, except the Turkish sentries. It was mid- 
summer, but no words and no experience of other 
places can convey an idea of the canicular heat of 
Jerusalem, Bengal, Egypt, even Nubia, are nothing 
to it; in these countries there are rivers, trees, shade, 
and breezes; but Jerusalem at midday in midsummer 
is a city of stone in a land of iron with a sky of 
brass. The wild glare and savage lustre of the land- 
scape are themselves awful. We have all read of the 
man who had lost his shadow; this is a shadowless 
world. Everything is so flaming and so clear, that 
it would remind one of a Chinese painting, but that 
the scene is one too bold and wild for the imagi- 
nation of the Mongol race. 

' There,' said Baroni, pointing to a group of most 
ancient olive trees at the base of the opposite hill, 
and speaking as if he were showing the way to 
Kensington, 'there is Gethsemane; the path to the 
right leads to Bethany.' 

'Leave me now,' said Tancred. 

There are moments when we must be alone, and 
Tancred had fixed upon this hour for visiting Gethsem- 
ane, because he felt assured that no one would be 
stirring. Descending Mount Sion, and crossing Kedron, 
he entered the sacred grove. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 




The Lady of Bethany. 

HE sun had been declining for some 
hours, the glare of the earth had 
subsided, the fervour of the air 
was allayed. A caravan came 
winding round the hills, with many 
camels and persons in rich, bright 
Syrian dresses; a congregation that had assembled at 
the Church of the Ascension on Mount Olivet had 
broken up, and the side of the hill was studded with 
brilliant and picturesque groups; the standard of the 
Crescent floated on the Tower of David; there was 
the clang of Turkish music, and the governor of the 
city, with a numerous cavalcade, might be discerned 
on Mount Moriah, caracoling without the walls; a 
procession of women bearing classic vases on their 
heads, who had been fetching the waters of Siloah 
from the well of Job, came up the valley of Jehosha- 
phat, to wind their way to the gate of Stephen and 
enter Jerusalem by the street of Calvary. 

Tancred came forth from the garden of Gethsemane, 
his face was flushed with the rapt stillness of pious 
ecstasy; hours had vanished during his passionate 
reverie, and he stared upon the declining sun. 

(22) 



TANCRED 23 

'The path to the right leads to Bethany.' The 
force of association brought back the last words that 
he had heard from a human voice. And can he 
sleep without seeing Bethany? He mounts the path. 
What a landscape surrounds him as he moves! What 
need for nature to be fair in a scene like this, where 
not a spot is visible that is not heroic or sacred, con- 
secrated or memorable; not a rock that is not the 
cave of prophets; not a valley that is not the valley 
of heaven-anointed kings; not a mountain that is not 
the mountain of God! 

Before him is a living, a yet breathing and ex- 
isting city, which Assyrian monarchs came down 
to besiege, which the chariots of Pharaohs encom- 
passed, which Roman Emperors have personally as- 
sailed, for which Saladin and Coeur de Lion, the 
desert and Christendom, Asia and Europe, strug- 
gled in rival chivalry; a city which Mahomet sighed 
to rule, and over which the Creator alike of Assyrian 
kings and Egyptian Pharaohs and Roman Caesars, 
the Framer alike of the desert and of Christendom, 
poured forth the full effusion of His divinely human 
sorrow. 

What need of cascade and of cataract, the deep 
green turf, the foliage of the fairest trees, the impene- 
trable forest, the abounding river, mountains of gla- 
ciered crest, the voice of birds, the bounding forms 
of beauteous animals; all sights and sounds of mate- 
rial loveliness that might become the delicate ruins of 
some archaic theatre, or the lingering fanes of some 
forgotten faith ? They would not be observed as the 
eye seized on Sion and Calvary; the gates of Bethle- 
hem and Damascus; the hill of Titus; the Mosque of 
Mahomet and the tomb of Christ. The view of Jeru- 



24 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

salem is the history of the world; it is more, it is 
the history of earth and of heaven. 

The path winding round the southern side of the 
Mount of Olives at length brought Tancred in sight 
of a secluded village, situate among the hills on a 
sunny slope, and shut out from all objects excepting 
the wide landscape which immediately faced it; the 
first glimpse of Arabia through the ravines of the Ju- 
daean hills; the rapid Jordan quitting its green and 
happy valley for the bitter waters of Asphaltites, and, 
in the extreme distance, the blue mountains of Moab. 

Ere he turned his reluctant steps towards the city, 
he was attracted by a garden, which issued, as it 
were, from a gorge in the hills, so that its limit was 
not perceptible, and then spread over a considerable 
space, comparatively with the inclosures in its vicin- 
ity, until it reached the village. It was surrounded 
by high stone walls, which every now and then the 
dark spiral forms of a cypress or a cedar would over- 
top, and in the more distant and elevated part rose a 
tall palm tree, bending its graceful and languid head, 
on which the sunbeam glittered. It was the first 
palm that Tancred had ever seen, and his heart 
throbbed as he beheld that fair and sacred tree. 

As he approached the garden, Tancred observed 
that its portal was open: he stopped before it, and 
gazed upon its walks of lemon trees with delight and 
curiosity. Tancred had inherited from his mother a 
passion for gardens; and an eastern garden, a garden 
in the Holy Land, such as Gethsemane might have 
been in those days of political justice when Jerusalem 
belonged to the Jews; the occasion was irresistible; 
he could not withstand the temptation of beholding 
more nearly a palm tree; and he entered. 



TANCRED 25 

Like a prince in a fairy tale, who has broken the 
mystic boundary of some enchanted pleasaunce, Tan- 
cred traversed the alleys which were formed by the 
lemon and pomegranate tree, and sometimes by the 
myrtle and the rose. His ear caught the sound of 
falling water, bubbling with a gentle noise; more dis- 
tinct and more forcible every step that he advanced. 
The walk in which he now found himself ended in 
an open space covered with roses; beyond them a 
gentle acclivity, clothed so thickly with a small bright 
blue flower that it seemed a bank of turquoise, and 
on its top was a kiosk of white marble, gilt and 
painted; by its side, rising from a group of rich 
shrubs, was the palm, whose distant crest had charmed 
Tancred without the gate. 

In the centre of the kiosk was the fountain, whose 
alluring voice had tempted Tancred to proceed further 
than he had at first dared to project. He must not 
retire without visiting the waters which had been 
speaking to him so long. Following the path round 
the area of roses, he was conducted to the height of 
the acclivity, and entered the kiosk; some small beau- 
tiful mats were spread upon its floor, and, reposing 
upon one of them, Tancred watched the bright clear 
water as it danced and sparkled in its marble basin. 

The reader has perhaps experienced the effect of 
falling water. Its lulling influence is proverbial. In 
the present instance, we must remember that Tan- 
cred had been exposed to the meridian fervour of a 
Syrian sun, that he had been the whole day under 
the influence of that excitement which necessarily 
ends in exhaustion; and that, in addition to this, he 
had recently walked some distance; it will not, there- 
fore, be looked upon as an incident improbable or as- 



26 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tonishing, that Lord Montacute, after pursuing for 
some time that train of meditation which was his 
custom, should have fallen asleep. 

His hat had dropped from his head; his rich curls 
fell on his outstretched arm that served as a pillow 
for a countenance which in the sweet dignity of its 
blended beauty and stillness might have become an 
archangel; and, lying on one of the mats, in an atti- 
tude of unconscious gracefulness, which a painter 
might have transferred to his portfolio, Tancred sank 
into a deep and dreamless repose. 

He woke refreshed and renovated, but quite in- 
sensible of all that had recently occurred. He stretched 
his limbs; something seemed to embarrass him; he 
found himself covered with a rich robe. He was 
about to rise, resting on his arm, when turning his 
head he beheld the form of a woman. 

She was young, even for the East; her stature 
rather above the ordinary height, and clothed in the 
rich dress usual among the Syrian ladies. She wore 
an amber vest of gold-embroidered silk, fitting closely 
to her shape, and fastening with buttons of precious 
stones from the bosom to the waist, there opening 
like a tunic, so that her limbs were free to range in 
her huge Mamlouk trousers, made of that white 
Cashmere a shawl of which can be drawn through a 
ring. These, fastened round her ankles with clasps 
of rubies, fell again over her small slippered feet. 
Over her amber vest she had an embroidered pelisse 
of violet silk, with long hanging sleeves, which 
showed occasionally an arm rarer than the costly jew- 
els which embraced it; a many-coloured Turkish scarf 
inclosed her waist; and then, worn loosely over all, 
was an outer pelisse of amber Cashmere, lined with 



TANCRED 27 

the fur of the white fox. At the back of her head 
was a cap, quite unlike the Greek and Turkish caps 
which we are accustomed to see in England, but 
somewhat resembling the head-dress of a Mandarin; 
round, not flexible, almost flat; and so thickly in- 
crusted with pearls, that it was impossible to detect 
the colour of the velvet which covered it. Beneath 
it descended two broad braids of dark brown hair, 
which would have swept the ground had they not 
been turned half-way up, and there fastened with 
bunches of precious stones; these, too, restrained the 
hair which fell, in rich braids, on each side of her 
face. 

That face presented the perfection of oriental 
beauty; such as it existed in Eden, such as it 
may yet occasionally be found among the favoured 
races in the favoured climes, and such as it might 
have been found abundantly and for ever, had not 
the folly and malignity of man been equal to the 
wisdom and beneficence of Jehovah. The counte- 
nance was oval, yet the head was small. The com- 
plexion was neither fair nor dark, yet it possessed 
the brilliancy of the north without its dryness, and 
the softness peculiar to the children of the sun with- 
out its moisture. A rich, subdued and equable tint 
overspread this visage, though the skin was so trans- 
parent that you occasionally caught the streaky splen- 
dour of some vein like the dappled shades in the fine 
peel of beautiful fruit. 

But it was in the eye and its overspreading arch 
that all the Orient spake, and you read at once of 
the starry vaults of Araby and the splendour of Chal- 
dean skies. Dark, brilliant, with pupil of great size 
and prominent from its socket, its expression and 



28 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

effect, notwithstanding the long eyelash of the desert, 
would have been those of a terrible fascination had 
not the depth of the curve in which it reposed soft- 
ened the spell and modified irresistible power by 
ineffable tenderness. This supreme organisation is 
always accompanied, as in the present instance, by a 
noble forehead, and by an eyebrow of perfect form, 
spanning its space with undeviating beauty; very 
narrow, though its roots are invisible. 

The nose was small, slightly elevated, with long 
oval nostrils fully developed. The small mouth, the 
short upper lip, the teeth like the neighbouring pearls 
of Ormuz, the round chin, polished as a statue, were 
in perfect harmony with the delicate ears, and the 
hands with nails shaped like almonds. 

Such was the form that caught the eye of Tan- 
cred. She was on the opposite side of the fountain, 
and stood gazing on him with calmness, and with a 
kind of benignant curiosity. The garden, the kiosk, 
the falling waters, recalled the past, which flashed 
over his mind almost at the moment when he be- 
held the beautiful apparition. Half risen, yet not 
willing to remain until he was on his legs to apolo- 
gise for his presence, Tancred, still leaning on his 
arm and looking up at his unknown companion, said, 
'Lady, I am an intruder.' 

The lady, seating herself on the brink of the foun- 
tain, and motioning at the same time with her hand 
to Tancred not to rise, replied, 'We are so near the 
desert that you must not doubt our hospitality.' 

'I was tempted by the first sight of a palm tree 
to a step too bold; and then sitting by this fountain, 
I know not how it was ' 

'You yielded to our Syrian sun,' said the lady. 



TANCRED 29 

'It has been the doom of many; but you, I trust, 
will not find it fatal. Walking in the garden with 
my maidens, we observed you, and one of us cov- 
ered your head. If you remain in this land you 
should wear the turban.' 

'This garden seems a paradise,' said Tancred. 'I 
had not thought that anything so fair could be found 
among these awful mountains. It is a spot that quite 
becomes Bethany.' 

'You Franks love Bethany.?' 

'Naturally; a place to us most dear and inter- 
esting.' 

' Pray, are you of those Franks who worship a 
Jewess; or of those other who revile her, break her 
images, and blaspheme her pictures.?' 

'1 venerate, though I do not adore, the mother of 
God,' said Tancred, with emotion. 

'Ah! the mother of Jesus!' said his companion. 
' He is your God. He lived much in this village. 
He was a great man, but he was a Jew; and you 
worship him.' 

'And you do not worship him?' said Tancred, 
looking up to her with an inquiring glance, and with 
a reddening cheek. 

'It sometimes seems to me that I ought,' said the 
lady, 'for I am of his race, and you should sympa- 
thise with your race.' 

'You are, then, a Hebrew?' 

' 1 am of the same blood as Mary whom you ven- 
erate, but do not adore.' 

'You just now observed,' said Tancred, after a 
momentary pause, 'that it sometimes almost seems to 
you that you ought to acknowledge my Lord and 
Master. He made many converts at Bethany, and 



30 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

found here some of his gentlest disciples. 1 wish that 
you had read the history of his hfe.' 

'I have read it. The Enghsh bishop here has 
given me the book. It is a good one, written, I ob- 
serve, entirely by Jews. 1 find in it many things 
with which I agree; and if there be some from which 
I dissent, it may be that 1 do not comprehend 
them.' 

'You are already half a Christian!' said Tancred, 
with animation. 

' But the Christianity which I draw from your book 
does not agree with the Christianity which you prac- 
tise,' said the lady, 'and I fear, therefore, it may be 
heretical.' 

'The Christian Church would be your guide.' 

'Which.?' inquired the lady; 'there are so many 
in Jerusalem. There is the good bishop who pre- 
sented me with this volume, and who is himself a 
Hebrew: he is a Church; there is the Latin Church, 
which was founded by a Hebrew; there is the Ar- 
menian Church, which belongs to an Eastern nation 
who, like the Hebrews, have lost their country and 
are scattered in every clime; there is the Abyssinian 
Church, who hold us in great honour, and practise 
many of our rites and ceremonies; and there are the 
Greek, the Maronite, and the Coptic Churches, who 
do not favour us, but who do not treat us as grossly 
as they treat each other. In this perplexity it may 
be wise to remain within the pale of a church older 
than all of them, the church in which Jesus was born 
and which he never quitted, for he was born a Jew, 
lived a Jew, and died a Jew; as became a Prince of 
the House of David, which you do and must acknowl- 
edge him to have been. Your sacred genealogies 



TANCRED 31 

prove the fact; and if you could not establish it, the 
whole fabric of your faith falls to the ground.' 

'If 1 had no confidence in any Church,' said Tan- 
cred, with agitation, '1 would fall down before God 
and beseech him to enlighten me; and, in this land,' 
he added, in a tone of excitement, '1 cannot believe 
that the appeal to the Mercy-seat would be made in 
vain.' 

' But human wit ought to be exhausted before we 
presume to invoke divine interposition,' said the lady. 
'I observe that Jesus was as fond of asking questions 
as of performing miracles; an inquiring spirit will 
solve mysteries. Let me ask you: you think that the 
present state of my race is penal and miraculous?' 

Tancred gently bowed assent. 

' Why do you ? ' asked the lady. 

' It is the punishment ordained for their rejection 
and crucifixion of the Messiah.' 

'Where is it ordained?' 

'Upon our heads and upon our children be his 
blood.' 

'The criminals said that, not the judge. Is it a 
principle of your jurisprudence to permit the guilty to 
assign their own punishment? They might deserve 
a severer one. Why should they transfer any of the 
infliction to their posterity? What evidence have you 
that Omnipotence accepted the offer? It is not so 
announced in your histories. Your evidence is the re- 
verse. He, whom you acknowledge as omnipotent, 
prayed to Jehovah to forgive them on account of their 
ignorance. But, admit that the offer was accepted, 
which in my opinion is blasphemy, is the cry of a 
rabble at a public execution to bind a nation? There 
was a great party in the country not disinclined to 



32 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Jesus at the time, especially in the provinces where 
he had laboured for three years, and on the whole 
with success; are they and their children to suffer? 
But you will say they became Christians. Admit it. 
We were originally a nation of twelve tribes; ten, 
long before the advent of Jesus, had been carried into 
captivity and scattered over the East and the Medi- 
terranean world; they are probably the source of the 
greater portion of the existing Hebrews; for we know 
that, even in the time of Jesus, Hebrews came up to 
Jerusalem at the Passover from every province of the 
Roman Empire. What had they to do with the cruci- 
fixion or the rejection ? ' 

' The fate of the Ten Tribes is a deeply interesting 
question,' said Tancred; 'but involved in, I fear, in- 
explicable obscurity. In England there are many who 
hold them to be represented by the Afghans, who 
state that their ancestors followed the laws of Moses. 
But perhaps they ceased to exist and were blended 
with their conquerors.' 

'The Hebrews have never blended with their con- 
querors,' said the lady, proudly. 'They were con- 
quered frequently, like all small states situate amid 
rival empires. Syria was the battlefield of the great 
monarchies. Jerusalem has not been conquered oftener 
than Athens, or treated worse; but its people, un- 
happily, fought too bravely and rebelled too often, so 
at last they were expatriated. I hold that, to believe 
that the Hebrew communities are in a principal measure 
the descendants of the Ten Tribes, and of the other 
captivities preceding Christ, is a just, and fair, and 
sensible inference, which explains circumstances that 
otherwise could not be explicable. But let that 
pass. We will suppose all the Jews in all the cities 



TANCRED 22 

of the world to be the lineal descendants of the mob 
who shouted at the crucifixion. Yet another ques- 
tion! My grandfather is a Bedouin sheikh, chief of 
one of the most powerful tribes of the desert. My 
mother was his daughter. He is a Jew; his whole 
tribe are Jews; they read and obey the five books, 
live in tents, have thousands of camels, ride horses of 
the Nedjed breed, and care for nothing except Je- 
hovah, Moses, and their mares. Were they at Jerusa- 
lem at the crucifixion, and does the shout of the 
rabble touch them ? Yet my mother marries a Hebrew 
of the cities, and a man, too, fit to sit on the throne 
of King Solomon; and a little Christian Yahoor with 
a round hat, who sells figs at Smyrna, will cross the 
street if he see her, lest he should be contaminated 
by the blood of one who crucified his Saviour; his 
Saviour being, by his own statement, one of the 
princes of our royal house. No; I will never become 
a Christian, if 1 am to eat such sandl It is not to be 
found in your books. They were written by Jews, 
men far too well acquainted with their subject to in- 
dite such tales of the Philistines as these!' 

Tancred looked at her with deep interest as her 
eye flashed fire, and her beautiful cheek was for a mo- 
ment suffused with the crimson cloud of indignant pas- 
sion; and then he said, 'You speak of things that deeply 
interest me, or 1 should not be in this land. But tell 
me: it cannot be denied that, whatever the cause, the 
miracle exists; and that the Hebrews, alone of the 
ancient races, remain, and are found in every country, 
a memorial of the mysterious and mighty past.' 

'Their state may be miraculous without being 
penal. But why miraculous ? Is it a miracle that Je- 
hovah should guard his people.? And can He guard 

i6 B. D.-5 



34 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

them better than by endowing them with faculties 
superior to those of the nations among whom they 
dwell?' 

* 1 cannot beheve that merely human agencies 
could have sustained a career of such duration and 
such vicissitudes.' 

'As for human agencies, we have a proverb: "The 
will of man is the servant of God." But if you wish 
to make a race endure, rely upon it you should ex- 
patriate them. Conquer them, and they may blend 
with their conquerors; exile them, and they will live 
apart and for ever. To expatriate is purely oriental, 
quite unknown to the modern world. We were 
speaking of the Armenians, they are Christians, and 
good ones, I believe.' 

'1 have understood very orthodox.' 

' Go to Armenia, and you will not find an Arme- 
nian. They, too, are an expatriated nation, like the 
Hebrews. The Persians conquered their land, and 
drove out the people. The Armenian has a proverb: 
"In every city of the East 1 find a home." They are 
everywhere; the rivals of my people, for they are one 
of the great races, and little degenerated: with all our 
industry, and much of our energy; I would say, with 
all our human virtues, though it cannot be expected 
that they should possess our divine qualities; they 
have not produced Gods and prophets, and are proud 
that they can trace up their faith to one of the ob- 
scurest of the Hebrew apostles, and who never knew 
his great master.' 

'But the Armenians are found only in the East,' 
said Tancred. 

'Ah!' said the lady, with a sarcastic smile; 'it is 
exile to Europe, then, that is the curse: well, 1 think 



TANCRED 



3S 



you have some reason. I do not know much of your 
quarter of the globe: Europe is to Asia what America 
is to Europe. But 1 have felt the winds of the Exuine 
blowing up the Bosphorus; and, when the Sultan 
was once going to cut off our heads for helping the 
Egyptians, 1 passed some months at Vienna. Oh! 
how 1 sighed for my beautiful Damascus!' 

' And for your garden at Bethany ? ' said Tan- 
cred. 

'It did not exist then. This is a recent creation,' 
said the lady, 'I have built a nest in the chink of 
the hills, that I might look upon Arabia; and the 
palm tree that invited you to honour my domain was 
the contribution of my Arab grandfather to the only 
garden near Jerusalem. But 1 want to ask you 
another question. What, on the whole, is the thing 
most valued in Europe?' 

Tancred pondered; and, after a slight pause, said, 
' I think 1 know what ought to be most valued in 
Europe; it is something very different from what I 
fear 1 must confess is most valued there. My cheek 
burns while I say it; but I think, in Europe, what is 
most valued is money.' 

'On the whole,' said the lady, 'he that has most 
money there is most honoured?' 

' Practically, I apprehend so.' 

'Which is the greatest city in Europe?' 

'Without doubt, the capital of my country, London.' 

'Greater I know it is than Vienna; but is it 
greater than Paris ? ' 

'Perhaps double the size of Paris.' 

'And four times that of Stamboul! What a city! 
Why 'tis Babylon! How rich the most honoured 
man must be there! Tell me. is he a Christian?' 



26 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'1 believe he is one of your race and faith.' 

'And in Paris; who is the richest man in Paris?' 

'The brother, I believe, of the richest man in 
London.' 

'I know all about Vienna,' said the lady, smiling. 
'Csesar makes my countrymen barons of the empire, 
and rightly, for it would fall to pieces in a week 
without their support. Well, you must admit that 
the European part of the curse has not worked very 
fatally.' 

'I do not see,' said Tancred thoughtfully, after a 
short pause, 'that the penal dispersion of the Hebrew 
nation is at all essential to the great object of the 
Christian scheme. If a Jew did not exist, that would 
equally have been obtained.' 

' And what do you hold to be the essential object 
of the Christian scheme ? ' 

'The Expiation.' 

'Ahl' said the lady, in a tone of much solemnity, 
'that is a great idea; in harmony with our instincts, 
with our traditions, our customs. It is deeply im- 
pressed upon the convictions of this land. Shaped as 
you Christians offer the doctrine, it loses none of its 
sublimity; or its associations, full at the same time 
of mystery, power, and solace. A sacrificial Mediator 
with Jehovah, that expiatory intercessor born from 
the chosen house of the chosen people, yet blending 
in his inexplicable nature the divine essence with the 
human elements, appointed before all time, and puri- 
fying, by his atoning blood, the myriads that pre- 
ceded and the myriads that will follow us, without 
distinction of creed or clime, this is what you believe. 
I acknowledge the vast conception, dimly as my 
brain can partially embrace it. I understand thus 



TANCRED 37 

much: the human race is saved; and, without the 
apparent agency of a Hebrew prince, it could not 
have been saved. Now tell me: suppose the Jews 
had not prevailed upon the Romans to crucify Jesus, 
what would have become ot the Atonement?' 

' I cannot permit myself to contemplate such con- 
tingencies,' said Tancred. 'The subject is too high 
for me to touch with speculation. I must not even 
consider an event that had been pre-ordained by the 
Creator of the world for countless ages.' 

'Ah!' said the lady; 'pre-ordained by the Creator 
of the world for countless ages! Where, then, was 
the inexpiable crime of those who fulfilled the benefi- 
cent intention? The holy race supplied the victim 
and the immolators. What other race could have 
been entrusted with such a consummation ? Was not 
Abraham prepared to sacrifice even his son ? And 
with such a doctrine, that embraces all space and 
time; nay more, chaos and eternity; with divine per- 
sons for the agents, and the redemption of the whole 
family of man for the subject; you can mix up the 
miserable persecution of a single race! And this is 
practical, not doctrinal Christianity. It is not found 
in your Christian books, which were all written by 
Jews; it must have been made by some of those 
Churches to which you have referred me. Persecute 
us! Why, if you believe what you profess, you 
should kneel to us! You raise statues to the hero 
who saves a country. We have saved the human 
race, and you persecute us for doing it.' 

' 1 am no persecutor,' said Tancred, with emotion; 
'and, had 1 been so, my visit to Bethany would have 
cleansed my heart of such dark thoughts.' 

'We have some conclusions in common,' said his 



38 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



companion, rising. ' We agree that half Christendom 
worships a Jewess, and the other half a Jew. Now 
let me ask one more question. Which is the superior 
race, the worshipped or the worshippers?' 

Tancred looked up to reply, but the lady had dis- 
appeared. 




CHAPTER XXVII 




Fakredeen and the Rose 
OF Sharon. 

EFORE Tancred could recover from 
his surprise, the kiosk was invaded 
by a crowd of little grinning negro 
pages, dressed in white tunics, 
with red caps and slippers. They 
bore a number of diminutive trays 
of ebony inlaid with tortoiseshell, and the mother-o'- 
pearl of Joppa, and covered with a great variety of 
dishes. It was in vain that he would have signified 
to them that he had no wish to partake of the ban- 
quet, and that he attempted to rise from his mat. 
They understood nothing that he said, but always 
grinning and moving about him with wonderful 
quickness, they fastened a napkin of the finest linen, 
fringed with gold, round his neck, covered the mats 
and the border of the fountain with their dishes and 
vases of differently-coloured sherbets, and proceeded, 
notwithstanding all his attempts at refusal, to hand 
him their dainties in due order. Notwithstanding his 
present tone of mind, which was ill-adapted to any 
carnal gratification, Tancred had nevertheless been an 
unusual number of hours without food. He had made 

(39) 



40 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

during the period no inconsiderable exertion, and 
was still some distance from the city. Though he 
resigned himself perforce to the care of his little at- 
tendants, their solicitude therefore was not inap- 
propriate. He partook of some of their dishes, and 
when he had at length succeeded in conveying to 
them his resolution to taste no more, they cleared the 
kiosk with as marvellous a celerity as they had stored 
it, and then two of them advanced with a nargileh and 
a chibouque, to offer their choice to their guest. Tan- 
cred placed the latter for a moment to his mouth, and 
then rising, and making signs to the pages that he 
would now return, they danced before him in the 
path till he had reached the other side of the area of 
roses, and then, with a hundred bows, bending, they 
took their leave of him. 

The sun had just sunk as Tancred quitted the gar- 
den: a crimson glow, shifting, as he proceeded, into 
rich tints of purple and of gold, suffused the stern Ju- 
daean hills, and lent an almost supernatural lustre to 
the landscape; lighting up the wild gorges, gilding 
the distant glens, and still kindling the superior eleva- 
tions with its living blaze. The air, yet fervid, was 
freshened by a slight breeze that came over the wil- 
derness from the Jordan, and the big round stars that 
were already floating in the skies were the brilliant 
heralds of the splendour of a Syrian night. The beau- 
teous hour and the sacred scene were alike in unison 
with the heart of Tancred, softened and serious. He 
mused in fascinated reverie over the dazzling incident 
of the day. Who was this lady of Bethany, who 
seemed not unworthy to have followed Him who had 
made her abiding place so memorable? Her beauty 
might have baffled the most ideal painter of the fair 



TANCRED 41 

Hebrew saints. RafFaelle himself could not have de- 
signed a brow of more delicate supremacy. Her lofty 
but gracious bearing, the vigour of her clear, frank 
mind, her earnestness, free from all ecstasy and flimsy 
enthusiasm, but founded in knowledge and deep 
thought, and ever sustained by exact expression and 
ready argument, her sweet witty voice, the great and 
all-engaging theme on which she was so content to 
discourse, and which seemed by right to belong to 
her: all these were circumstances which wonderfully 
affected the imagination of Tancred. 

He was lost in the empyrean of high abstraction, 
his gaze apparently fixed on the purple mountains, 
and the golden skies, and the glittering orbs of com- 
ing night, which yet in truth he never saw, when a 
repeated shout at length roused him. It bade him 
stand aside on the narrow path that winds round the 
Mount of Olives from Jerusalem to Bethany, and let a 
coming horseman pass. The horseman was the young 
Emir who was a guest the night before in the divan 
of Besso. Though habited in the Mamlouk dress, as 
if only the attendant of some great man, huge trou- 
sers and jacket of crimson cloth, a white turban, a 
shawl round his waist holding his pistols and sabre, 
the horse he rode was a Kochlani of the highest 
breed. By him was a running footman, holding his 
nargileh, to which the Emir frequently applied his 
mouth as he rode along. He shot a keen glance at 
Tancred as he passed by, and then throwing his tube 
to his attendant, he bounded on. 

In the meantime, we must not forget the lady of 
Bethany after she so suddenly disappeared from the 
kiosk. Proceeding up her mountain garden, which 
narrowed as she advanced, and attended by two fe- 



42 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

male slaves, who had been in waiting without the 
kiosk, she was soon in that hilly chink in which she 
had built her nest; a long, low pavilion, with a 
shelving roof, and surrounded by a Saracenic arcade; 
the whole painted in fresco; a golden pattern of flow- 
ing fancy on a white ground. If there were door or 
window, they were entirely concealed by the blinds 
which appeared to cover the whole surface of the 
building. Stepping into the arcade, the lady entered 
the pavilion by a side portal, which opened by a 
secret spring, and which conducted her into a small 
corridor, and this again through two chambers, in 
both of which were many females, who mutely sa- 
luted her without rising from their employments. 

Then the mistress entered a more capacious and 
ornate apartment. Its ceiling, which described the 
horseshoe arch of the Saracens, was encrusted with 
that honeycomb work which is peculiar to them, 
and which, in the present instance, was of rose col- 
our and silver. Mirrors were inserted in the cedar 
panels of the walls; a divan of rose-coloured silk sur- 
rounded the chamber, and on the thick soft carpet of 
many colours, which nearly covered the floor, were 
several cushions surrounding an antique marble tripod 
of wreathed serpents. The lady, disembarrassing her- 
self of her slippers, seated herself on the divan in the 
fashion of her country; one of her attendants brought 
a large silver lamp, which difl'used a delicious odour 
as well as a brilliant light, and placed it on the tri- 
pod; the other clapped her hands, and a band of 
beautiful girls entered the room, bearing dishes of 
confectionery, plates of choice fruits, and vases ot de- 
licious sherbets. The lady, partaking of some of 
these, directed, after a short time, that they should 



TANCRED 43 

be offered to her immediate attendants, who there- 
upon kissed their hands with a grave face, and 
pressed them to their hearts. Then one of the girls, 
leaving the apartment for a moment, returned with a 
nargileh of crystal, set by the most cunning artists of 
Damascus in a framework of golden filigree crusted 
with precious stones. She presented the flexible sil- 
ver tube, tipped with amber, to the lady, who, wav- 
ing her hand that the room should be cleared, smoked 
a confection of roses and rare nuts, while she listened 
to a volume read by one of her maidens, who was 
seated by the silver lamp. 

While they were thus employed, an opposite cur- 
tain to that by which they had entered was drawn 
aside, and a woman advanced, and whispered some 
words to the lady, who seemed to signify her assent. 
Immediately, a tall negro of Dongola, richly habited 
in a flowing crimson vest, and with a large silver 
collar round his neck, entered the hall, and, after the 
usual salutations of reverence to the lady, spoke 
earnestly in a low voice. The lady listened with 
great attention, and then, taking out her tablets from 
her girdle, she wrote a few words and gave a leaf to 
the tall negro, who bowed and retired. Then she 
waved her hand, and the maiden who was reading 
closed her book, rose, and, pressing her hand to her 
heart, retired. 

It seemed that the young Emir had arrived at the 
pavilion, and prayed that, without a moment's delay, 
he might speak with the Lady of Bethany. 

The curtain was again withdrawn, a light step was 
heard, the young man who had recently passed Tan- 
cred on the road to Jerusalem bounded into the room. 

'How is the Rose of Sharon?' he exclaimed. He 



44 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

threw himself at her feet, and pressed the hem of 
her garment to his lips with an ecstasy which it 
would have been difficult for a bystander to decide 
whether it were mockery or enthusiasm, or genuine 
feeling, which took a sportive air to veil a devotion 
which it could not conceal, and which it cared not 
too gravely to intimate. 

'Ah, Fakredeen!' said the lady, 'and when did 
you leave the Mountain?' 

'1 arrived at Jerusalem yesterday by sunset; never 
did 1 want to see you so much. The foreign consuls 
have stopped my civil war, which cost me a hundred 
thousand piastres. We went down to Beiroot and 
signed articles of peace; I thought it best to attend 
to escape suspicion. However, there is more stirring 
than you can conceive: never had I such combina- 
tions! First, let me shortly tell you what I have 
done, then what I wish you to do. I have made im- 
mense hits, but I am also in a scrape.' 

'That 1 think you always are,' said the lady. 

'But you will get me out of it. Rose of Sharon! 
You always do, brightest and sweetest of friends! 
What an alliance is ours! My invention, your judg- 
ment; my combinations, your criticism. It must 
carry everything before it.' 

' I do not see that it has effected much hitherto,' 
said the lady. ' However, give me your mountain 
news. What have you done?' 

'In the first place,' said Fakredeen, 'until this ac- 
cursed peace intrigue of the foreign consuls, which 
will not last as long as the carnival, the Mountain 
was more troubled than ever, and the Porte, backed 
up by Sir Canning, is obstinate against any prince of 
our house exercising the rule.' 



TANCRED 45 

' Do you call that good news ? ' 

' It serves. In the first place it keeps my good 
uncle, the Emir Bescheer and his sons, prisoners at 
the Seven Towers. Now, I will tell you what I have 
done. I have sent to my uncle and offered him two 
hundred thousand piastres a year for his life and that 
of his sons, if they will represent to the Porte that 
none but a prince of the house of Shehaab can pos- 
sibly pacify and administer Lebanon, and that, to obtain 
this necessary end, they are ready to resign their rights 
in favour of any other member of the family.' 

'What then?' said the Lady of Bethany, taking 
her nargileh from her mouth. 

'Why, then,' said Fakredeen, 'I am by another 
agent working upon Riza Pasha to this effect, that of 
all the princes of the great house of Shehaab, there 
is none so well adapted to support the interests of 
the Porte as the Emir Fakredeen, and for these three 
principal reasons: in the first place, because he is a 
prince of great qualities ' 

' Your proof of them to the vizir would be better 
than your assertion.' 

'Exactly,' said Fakredeen. 'I prove them by my 
second reason, which is a guaranty to his excellency 
of the whole revenue of the first year of my prince- 
dom, provided I receive the berat.' 

'I can tell you something,' said the lady, 'Riza 
shakes a little. He is too fond of first-fruits. His 
nomination will not be popular.' 

' Yes it will, when the divan takes into considera- 
tion the third reason for my appointment,' said the 
prince. ' Namely, that the Emir Fakredeen is the 
only prince of the great house of Shehaab who is a 
good Mussulman.' 



46 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'You a good Mussulman! Why, I thought you 
had sent two months ago Archbishop Murad to Paris, 
urging King Louis to support you, because, amongst 
other reasons, being a Christian prince, you would 
defend the faith and privileges of the Maronites.' 

'And devote myself to France,' said Fakredeen. 
' It is very true, and an excellent combination it is, if 
we could only bring it to bear, which I do not de- 
spair of, though affairs, which looked promising at 
Paris, have taken an unfortunate turn of late." 

'1 am sorry for that,' said the lady, 'for really, 
Fakredeen, of all your innumerable combinations, that 
did seem to me to be the most practical. I think it 
might have been worked. The Maronites are power- 
ful; the French nation is interested in them; they are 
the link between France and Syria; and you, being a 
Christian prince as well as an emir of the most illus- 
trious house, with your intelligence and such aid as 
we might give you, I think your prospects were, to 
say the least, fair.' 

'Why, as to being a Christian prince, Eva, you 
must remember I aspire to a dominion where I have 
to govern the Maronites who are Christians, the 
Metoualis who are Mahometans, the Ansareys who 
are Pagans, and the Druses who are nothing. As for 
myself, my house, as you well know, is more ancient 
even than that of Othman. We are literally de- 
scended from the standard-bearer of the Prophet, and 
my own estates, as well as those of the Emir Bes- 
cheer, have been in our registered possession for 
nearly eight hundred years. Our ancestors became 
Christians to conciliate the Maronites. Now tell me: 
in Europe, an English or French prince who wants a 
throne never hesitates to change his religion, why 



TANCRED 47 

should I be more nice? I am of that religion which 
gives me a sceptre; and if a Frank prince adopts a 
new creed when he quits London or Paris, I cannot 
understand why mine may not change according to 
the part of the mountain through which I am passing. 
What is the use of belonging to an old family unless 
to have the authority of an ancestor ready for any 
prejudice, religious or political, which your combina- 
tions may require ?' 

'Ah! Fakredeen,' said the lady, shaking her head, 
'you have no self-respect.' 

'No Syrian has; it won't do for us. You are an 
Arabian; it will do for the desert. Self-respect, too, 
is a superstition of past centuries, an affair of the 
Crusades. It is not suited to these times; it is much 
too arrogant, too self-conceited, too egotistical. No 
one is important enough to have self-respect. Don't 
you see?' 

' You boast of being a prince inferior to none in 
the antiquity of your lineage, and, as far as the mere 
fact is concerned, you are justified in your boast. I 
cannot comprehend how one who feels this pride 
should deign to do anything that is not princely.' 

'A prince!' exclaimed Fakredeen. 'Princes go 
for nothing now, without a loan. Get me a loan, 
and then you turn the prince into a government. 
That's the thing.' 

' You will never get a loan till you are Emir of 
Lebanon,' said the lady. 'And you have shown me 
to-day that the only chance you have is failing you, 
for, after all, Paris was your hope. What has crossed 
you?' 

'In the first place,' said Fakredeen, 'what can the 
French do? After having let the Egyptians be driven 



48 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

out, fortunately for me, for their expulsion ruined my 
uncle, the French will never take the initiative in 
Syria. All that I wanted of them was, that they 
should not oppose Riza Pasha in his nomination of 
me. But to secure his success a finer move was nec- 
essary. So I instructed Archbishop Murad, whom 
they received very well at Paris, to open secret com- 
munications over the water with the English. He did 
so, and offered to cross and explain in detail to their 
ministers. I wished to assure them in London that I 
was devoted to their interests; and I meant to offer 
to let the Protestant missionaries establish themselves 
in the mountain, so that Sir Canning should have re- 
ceived instructions to support my nomination by 
Riza. Then you see, I should have had the Porte, 
England, and France. The game was won. Can 
you believe it? Lord Aberdeen enclosed my agent's 
letter to Guizot. I was crushed.' 

'And disgraced. You deserved it. You never 
will succeed. Intrigue will be your ruin, Fakredeen.' 

'Intrigue!' exclaimed the prince, starting from the 
cushion near the tripod, on which he sat, speaking 
with great animation and using, as was his custom, 
a superfluity of expression, both of voice and hands 
and eyes, 'intrigue! It is life! It is the only thing! 
How do you think Guizot and Aberdeen got to be 
ministers without intrigue? Or Riza Pasha himself? 
How do you think Mehemet Ali got on? Do you 
believe Sir Canning never intrigues? He would be 
recalled in a week if he did not. Why, I have got 
one of his spies in my castle at this moment, and I 
make him write home for the English all that I wish 
them not to believe. Intrigue! Why, England won 
India by intrigue. Do you think they are not in- 



TANCRED 49 

triguing in the Punjaub at this moment ? Intrigue 
has gained half the thrones of Europe: Greece, France, 
Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Russia, If you wish to 
produce a result, you must make combinations; and 
you call combinations, Eva, intrigue!' 

'And this is the scrape that you are in,' said the 
lady. '1 do not see how I can help you out of it.' 

'Pardon; this is not the scrape: and here comes 
the point on which I need your aid, daughter of a 
thousand sheikhs! 1 can extricate myself from the 
Paris disaster, even turn it to account. I have made 
an alliance with the patriarch of the Lebanon, who 
manages affairs for the Emir Bescheer. The patriarch 
hates Murad, whom you see I was to have made 
patriarch. I am to declare the Archbishop an un- 
authorised agent, an adventurer, and my letter to be 
a forgery. The patriarch is to go to Stamboul, with 
his long white beard, and put me right with France, 
through De Bourqueney, with whom he has relations 
in favour of the Emir Bescheer; my uncle is to be 
thrown over; all the Maronite chiefs are to sign a 
declaration supplicating the Porte to institute me; 
nay, the declaration is signed ' 

'And the Druses? Will not this Maronite mani- 
festation put you wrong with the Druses?' 

'I live among the Druses, you see,' said Fakre- 
deen, shaking his head, and looking with his glitter- 
ing eye a thousand meanings. 'The Druses love me. 
They know that I am one of themselves. They will 
only think that I have made the Maronites eat sand.' 

'And what have you really done for the Maronites 
to gain all this?' asked the lady, quietly. 

'There it is,' said Fakredeen, speaking in an af- 
fected whisper, ' the greatest stroke of state that ever 

10 B. D.— 4 



50 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

entered the mind of a king without a kingdom, for I 
am resolved that the mountain shall be a royalty! 
You remember when Ibrahim Pasha laid his plans for 
disarming the Lebanon, the Maronites, urged by their 
priests, fell into the snare, while the Druses wisely 
went with their muskets and scimitars, and lived 
awhile with the eagle and the antelope. This has 
been sand to the Maronites ever since. The Druses 
put their tongues in their cheek whenever they meet, 
and treat them as so many women. The Porte, of 
course, will do nothing for the Maronites; they even 
take back the muskets which they lent them for the 
insurrection. Well, as the Porte will not arm them, 
I have agreed to do it.' 

•You!' 

"Tis done; at least the caravan is laden; we only 
want a guide. And this is why 1 am at Jerusalem. 
Scheriff EfFendi, who met me here yesterday, has got 
me five thousand English muskets, and 1 have ar- 
ranged with the Bedouin of Zoalia to carry them to 
the mountain.' 

'You have indeed Solomon's signet, my dear Fak- 
redeen.' 

'Would that I had; for then I could pay two 
hundred thousand piastres to that Egyptian camel, 
Scheriff Effendi, and he would give me up my mus- 
kets, which now, like a true son of Eblis, he obstinately 
retains.' 

' And this is your scrape, Fakredeen. And how 
much have you towards the sum?' 

'Not a piastre; nor do I suppose I shall ever see, 
until I make a great financial stroke, so much of the 
sultan's gold as is on one of the gilt balls of roses in 
your nargileh. My crops are sold for next year, my 



TANCRED 51 

jewels are gone, my studs are to be broken up. There 
is not a cur in the streets of Beiroot of whom I have 
not borrowed money. Riza Pasha is a sponge that 
would dry the sea of Galilee.' 

' It is a great thing to have gained the Patriarch 
of Lebanon,' said the lady; '1 always felt that, as long 
as that man was against you, the Maronites never 
could be depended on. And yet these arms; after all, 
they are of no use, for you would not think of insur- 
rection ! ' 

'No; but they can quarrel with the Druses, and 
cut each other's throats, and this will make the 
mountain more unmanageable than ever, and the Eng- 
lish will have no customers for their calicoes, don't 
you see? Lord Palmerston will arraign the minister 
in the council. I shall pay off Aberdeen for enclosing 
the Archbishop's letter to Guizot. Combination upon 
combination! The calico merchants will call out for 
a prince of the house of Shehaab! Riza will propose 
me; Bourqueney will not murmur, and Sir Canning, 
finding he is in a mess, will sign a fine note of 
words about the peace of Europe and the prosperity 
of Lebanon, and 'tis finished.' 

'And my father, you have seen him?' 

'1 have seen him,' said the young Emir, and he 
cast his eyes on the ground. 

'He has done so much,' said Eva. 

'Ask him to do more. Rose of Sharon,' said Fak- 
redeen, like a child about to cry for a toy, and he 
threw himself on his knees before Eva, and kept kiss- 
ing her robe. 'Ask him to do more,' he repeated, 
in a suppressed tone of heart-rending cajolery; 'he 
can refuse you nothing. Ask him, ask him, Eva! I 
have no friend in the world but you; 1 am so deso- 



52 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

late. You have always been my friend, my counsellor, 
my darling, my ruby, my pearl, my rose of Roc- 
nabad! Ask him, Eva; never mind my faults; you 
know me by heart; only ask him!' 

She shook her head. 

'Tell him that you are my sister, that I am his 
son, that I love you so, that I love him so; tell him 
anything. Say that he ought to do it because I am 
a Hebrew.' 

'A what?' said Eva. 

'A Hebrew; yes, a Hebrew. I am a Hebrew by 
blood, and we all are by faith.' 

'Thou son of a slave!' exclaimed the lady, 'thou 
masquerade of humanity! Christian or Mussulman, 
Pagan or Druse, thou mayest figure as; but spare my 
race, Fakredeen, they are fallen ' 

' But not so base as I am. It may be true, but I 
love you, Eva, and you love me; and if 1 had as 
many virtues as yourself, you could not love me 
more; perhaps less. Women like to feel their su- 
periority; you are as clever as I am, and have more 
judgment; you are generous, and I am selfish; hon- 
ourable, and I am a villain; brave, and I am a coward; 
rich, and I am poor. Let that satisfy you, and do 
not trample on the Allien;' and Fakredeen took her 
hand and bedewed it with his tears. 

'Dear Fakredeen,' said Eva, '1 thought you spoke 
in jest, as I did.' 

' How can a man jest, who has to go through 
what I endure!' said the young Emir, in a despond- 
ing tone, and still lying at her feet. 'O, my more 
than sister, 'tis hell! The object I propose to myself 
would, with the greatest resources, be difficult; and 
now I have none.' 



TANCRED S3 

' Relinquish it.' 

'When I am young and ruined! When I have the 
two greatest stimulants in the world to action, Youth 
and Debt! No; such a combination is never to be 
thrown away. Any young prince ought to win the 
Lebanon, but a young prince in debt ought to con- 
quer the world!' and the Emir sprang from the floor, 
and began walking about the apartment. 

'I think, Eva,' he said, after a moment's pause, 
and speaking in his usual tone, ' I think you really 
might do something with your father; I look upon 
myself as his son; he saved my life. And I am a He- 
brew; I was nourished by your mother's breast, her 
being flows in my veins; and independent of all that, 
my ancestor was the standard-bearer of the Prophet, 
and the Prophet was the descendant of Ishmael, and 
Ishmael and Israel were brothers. I really think, be- 
tween my undoubted Arabian origin and being your 
foster-brother, that 1 may be looked upon as a Jew, 
and that your father might do something for me.' 

' Whatever my father will do, you and he must 
decide together,' said Eva; 'after the result of my 
last interference, I promised my father that I never 
would speak to him on your affairs again; and you 
know, therefore, that I cannot. You ought not to 
urge me, Fakredeen.' 

'Ah! you are angry with me,' he exclaimed, and 
again seated himself at her feet. 'You were saying 
in your heart, he is the most selfish of beings. It is 
true, I am. But I have glorious aspirations at least. 
I am not content to live like my fathers in a beauti- 
ful palace, amid my woods and mountains, with 
Kochlani steeds, falcons that would pull down an 
eagle, and nargilehs of rubies and emeralds. I want 



54 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

something more than troops of beautiful slaves, music 
and dances. I want Europe to talk of me. I am 
wearied of hearing nothing but Ibrahim Pasha, Louis 
Philippe, and Palmerston. I, too, can make com- 
binations; and I am of a better family than all three, 
for Ibrahim is a child of mud, a Bourbon is not 
equal to a Shehaab, and Lord Palmerston only sits in 
the Queen's second chamber of council, as I well 
know from an Englishman who was at Beiroot, and 
with whom I have formed some political relations, of 
which perhaps some day you will hear.' 

' Well, we have arrived at a stage of your career, 
Fakredeen, in which no combination presents itself; I 
am powerless to assist you; my resources, never very 
great, are quite exhausted.' 

'No,' said the Emir, 'the game is yet to be won. 
Listen, Rose of Sharon, for this is really the point on 
which I came to hold counsel. A young English lord 
has arrived at Jerusalem this week or ten days past; 
he is of the highest dignity, and rich enough to buy 
the grand bazaar of Damascus; he has letters of credit 
on your father's house without any limit. No one 
can discover the object of his mission. 1 have some 
suspicions; there is also a French officer here who 
never speaks; I watch them both. The Englishman, 
I learnt this morning, is going to Mount Sinai. It is 
not a pilgrimage, because the English are really neither 
Jews nor Christians, but follow a sort of religion of 
their own, which is made every year by their bishops, 
one of whom they have sent to Jerusalem, in what 
they call a parliament, a college of muftis; you under- 
stand. Now lend me that ear that is like an almond 
of Aleppo! I propose that one of the tribes that obey 
your grandfather shall make this Englishman prisoner 



TANCRED 55 

as he traverses the desert. You see? Ah! Rose of 
Sharon, I am not yet beat; your Fakredeen is not the 
baffled boy that, a few minutes ago, you looked as if 
you thought him. I defy Ibrahim, or the King of 
France, or Palmerston himself, to make a combination 
superior to this. What a ransom! The English lord 
will pay Scherifif Effendi for his five thousand 
muskets, and for their conveyance to the mountain 
besides.' 




CHAPTER XXVIII. 




Besso, the Banker. 

N ONE of those civil broils at Da- 
mascus which preceded the fail of 
the Janissaries, an Emir of the 
house of Shehaab, who lost his life 
in the fray, had, in the midst of 
the convulsion, placed his infant son 
in the charge of the merchant Besso, a child most 
dear to him, not only because the babe was his heir, 
but because his wife, whom he passionately loved, a 
beautiful lady of Antioch and of one of the old families 
of the country, had just sacrificed her life in giving 
birth to their son. 

The wife of Besso placed the orphan infant at her 
own breast, and the young Fakredeen was brought 
up in every respect as a child of the house; so that, 
for some time, he looked upon the little Eva, who 
was three years younger than himself, as his sister. 
When Fakredeen had attained an age of sufficient 
intelligence for the occasion and the circumstances, 
his real position was explained to him; but he was 
still too young for the communication to effect any 
change in his feelings, and the idea that Eva was not 
his sister only occasioned him sorrow, until his grief 
(56') 



TANCRED 57 

was forgotten when he found that the change made 
no difference in their lives or their love. 

Soon after the violent death of the father of Fak- 
redeen, affairs had become more tranquil, and Besso 
had not neglected the interests of his charge. The 
infant was heir to a large estate in the Lebanon; a 
fine castle, an illimitable forest, and cultivated lands, 
whose produce, chiefly silk, afforded a revenue suf- 
ficient to maintain the not inconsiderable state of a 
mountain prince. 

When Fakredeen was about ten years of age, his 
relative the Emir Bescheer, who then exercised a 
sovereign and acknowledged sway over all the tribes 
of the Lebanon, whatever their religion or race, signi- 
fied his pleasure that his kinsman should be educated 
at his court, in the company of his sons. So Fakredeen, 
with many tears, quitted his happy home at Damascus, 
and proceeded to Beteddeen, the beautiful palace of 
his uncle, situate among the mountains in the neigh- 
bourhood of Beiroot. This was about the time that 
the Egyptians were effecting the conquest of Syria, 
and both the Emir Bescheer, the head of the house 
of Shehaab as well as Prince of the Mountain, and 
the great commercial confederation of the brothers 
Besso, had declared in favour of the invader, and were 
mainly instrumental to the success of Mehemet Ali. 
Political sympathy, and the feelings of mutual depend- 
ence which united the Emir Bescheer and the 
merchant of Damascus, rendered the communications 
between the families so frequent that it was not 
difficult for the family of Besso to cherish those senti- 
ments of affection which were strong and lively in 
the heart of the young Fakredeen, but which, under 
any circumstances, depend so much on sustained per- 



58 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

sonal intercourse. Eva saw a great deal of her former 
brother, and there subsisted between them a romantic 
friendship. He was their frequent guest at Damascus 
and was proud to show her how he excelled in his 
martial exercises, how skilful he was with his falcon, 
and what horses of pure race he proudly rode. 

In the year '39, Fakredeen being then fifteen years 
of age, the country entirely tranquil, even if discon- 
tented, occupied by a disciplined army of 80,000 men, 
commanded by captains equal it was supposed to any 
conjuncture, the Egyptians openly encouraged by the 
greatest military nation of Europe, the Turks power- 
less, and only secretly sustained by the countenance 
of the ambassador of the weakest government that 
ever tottered in England, a government that had 
publicly acknowledged that it had forfeited the confi- 
dence of the Parliament which yet it did not dissolve; 
everything being thus in a state of flush and affluent 
prosperity, and both the house of Shehaab and the 
house of Besso feeling, each day more strongly, 
how discreet and how lucky they had been in the 
course which they had adopted, came the great Syrian 
crash ! 

Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the 
policy pursued by the foreign minister of England, 
with respect to the settlement of the Turkish Empire 
in 1840-41, none can be permitted, by those, at least, 
competent to decide upon such questions, as to the 
ability with which that policy was accomplished. 
When we consider the position of the minister at 
home, not only deserted by Parliament, but aban- 
doned by his party and even forsaken by his colleagues; 
the military occupation of Syria by the Egyptians; the 
rabid demonstration of France; that an accident of 



TANCRED 59 

time or space, the delay of a month or the gathering 
of a storm, might alone have baffled all his combina- 
tions, it is difficult to fix upon a page in the history 
of this country which records a superior instance of 
moral intrepidity. The bold conception and the bril- 
liant performance were worthy of Chatham; but the 
domestic difficulties with which Lord Palmerston had 
to struggle place the exploit beyond the happiest 
achievement of the elder Pitt. Throughout the mem- 
orable conjuncture. Lord Palmerston, however, had 
one great advantage, which was invisible to the mil- 
lions; he was served by a most vigilant and able 
diplomacy. The superiority of his information con- 
cerning the state of Syria to that furnished to the 
French minister was the real means by which he 
baffled the menaced legions of our neighbours. A 
timid Secretary of State in the position of Lord Palm- 
erston, even with such advantages, might have fal- 
tered; but the weapon was placed in the hands of one 
who did not shrink from its exercise, and the expul- 
sion of the Egyptians from Turkey remains a great 
historic monument alike of diplomatic skill and ad- 
ministrative energy. 

The rout of the Egyptians was fatal to the Emir 
Bescheer, and it seemed also, for a time, to the Da- 
mascus branch of the family of Besso. But in these 
days a great capitalist has deeper roots than a sover- 
eign prince, unless he is very legitimate. The Prince 
of the Mountain and his sons were summoned from 
their luxurious and splendid Beteddeen to Constanti- 
nople, where they have ever since remained prisoners. 
Young Fakredeen, the moment he heard of the fall of 
Acre, rode out with his falcon, as if for the pastime 
of a morning, and the moment he was out of sight 



6o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

made for the desert, and never rested until he reached 
the tents of the children of Rechab, where he placed 
himself under the protection of the grandfather of Eva. 

As for the merchant himself, having ships at his 
command, he contrived to escape with his wife 
and his young daughter to Trieste, and he remained 
in the Austrian dominions between three and four 
years. At length the influence of Prince Metternich, 
animated by Sidonia, propitiated the Porte. Adam 
Besso. after making his submission at Stamboul, and 
satisfactorily explaining his conduct to Riza Pasha, re- 
turned to his country, not substantially injured in for- 
tune, though the northern clime had robbed him of 
his Arabian wife; for his brothers, who, as far as 
politics were concerned, had ever kept in the shade, 
had managed affairs in the absence of the more promi- 
nent member of their house, and, in truth, the family 
of Besso were too rich to be long under a cloud. The 
Pasha of Damascus found his revenue fall very short 
without their interference; and as for the Divan, the 
Bessoes could always find a friend there if they chose. 
The awkwardness of the Syrian catastrophe was, that 
it was so sudden and so unexpected that there 
was then no time for those satisfactory explanations 
which afterwards took place between Adam Besso 
and Riza. 

Though the situation of Besso remained, therefore, 
unchanged after the subsidence of the Syrian agita- 
tion, the same circumstance could not be predicated 
of the position of his foster-child. Fakredeen pos- 
sessed all the qualities of the genuine Syrian charac- 
ter in excess; vain, susceptible, endowed with a 
brilliant though frothy imagination, and a love of action 
so unrestrained that restlessness deprived it of en- 



TANCRED 6i 

ergy, with so fine a taste that he was always 
capricious, and so ingenious that he seemed ever in- 
consistent. His ambition was as high as his appre- 
hension was quick. He saw everything and understood 
everybody in a flash; and believed that everything 
that was said or done ought to be made to contribute 
to his fortunes. Educated in the sweet order, and 
amid the decorous virtues of the roof of Besso, Fak- 
redeen, who, from his susceptibility, took the colour 
of his companions, even when he thought they were 
his tools, had figured for ten years as a soft-hearted 
and somewhat timid child, dependent on kind words, 
and returning kindness with a passionate affection. 

His change to the palace of his uncle developed 
his native qualities, which, under any accidents, could 
not perhaps have been long restrained, but which the 
circumstances of the times brought to light, and ma- 
tured with a celerity peculiar to the East. The char- 
acter of Fakredeen was formed amid the excitement 
of the Syrian invasion and its stirring consequences. 
At ten years of age he was initiated in all the mys- 
teries of political intrigue. His startling vivacity and 
the keen relish of his infant intelligence for all the pas- 
sionate interests of men amused and sometimes de- 
lighted his uncle. Everything was spoken before 
him; he lived in the centre of intrigues which were 
to shake thrones, and perhaps to form them. He 
became habituated to the idea that everything could 
be achieved by dexterity, and that there was no test 
of conduct except success. To dissemble and to 
simulate; to conduct confidential negotiations with 
contending powers and parties at the same time; to 
be ready to adopt any opinion and to possess none; 
to fall into the public humour of the moment, and 



62 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

to evade the impending catastrophe; to look upon 
every man as a tool, and never do anything which 
had not a definite though circuitous purpose; these 
were his pohtical accomplishments; and, while he 
recognised them as the best means of success, he 
found in their exercise excitement and delight. To 
be the centre of a maze of manoeuvres was his em- 
pyrean. He was never without a resource. 

Stratagems came to him as naturally as fruit 
comes to a tree. He lived in a labyrinth of plans, 
and he rejoiced to involve some one in the perplexi- 
ties which his magic touch could alone unravel. 
Fakredeen had no principle of any kind; he had not 
a prejudice; a little superstition, perhaps, like his 
postponing his journey because a hare crossed his 
path. But, as for life and conduct in general, form- 
ing his opinions from the great men of whom he 
had experience, princes, pashas, and some others, 
and from the great transactions with which he was 
connected, he was convinced that all was a matter 
of force or fraud. Fakredeen preferred the latter, be- 
cause it was more ingenious, and because he was of 
a kind and passionate temperament, loving beauty 
and the beautiful, apt to idealise everything, and of 
too exquisite a taste not to shrink with horror from 
an unnecessary massacre. 

Though it was his profession and his pride to 
simulate and to dissemble, he had a native ingenu- 
ousness which was extremely awkward and very 
surprising, for, the moment he was intimate with 
you, he told you everything. Though he intended to 
make a person his tool, and often succeeded, such 
was his susceptibility, and so strong were his sympa- 
thetic qualities, that he was perpetually, without be- 



TANCRED 63 

ing aware of it, showing his cards. The victim 
thought himself safe, but the teeming resources of 
Fakredeen were never wanting, and some fresh and 
brilliant combination, as he styled it, often secured 
the prey which so heedlessly he had nearly forfeited. 
Recklessness with him was a principle of action. He 
trusted always to his fertile expedients if he failed, 
and ran the risk in the meanwhile of paramount suc- 
cess, the fortune of those who are entitled to be rash. 
With all his audacity, which was nearly equal to his 
craft, he had no moral courage; and, if affairs went 
wrong, and, from some accident, exhaustion of the 
nervous system, the weather, or some of those slight 
causes which occasionally paralyse the creative mind, 
he felt without a combination, he would begin to cry 
like a child, and was capable of any action, however 
base and humiliating, to extricate himself from the 
impending disaster. 

Fakredeen had been too young to have fatally 
committed himself during the Egyptian occupation. 
The moment he found that the Emir Bescheer and 
his sons were prisoners at Constantinople, he re- 
turned to Syria, lived quietly at his own castle, af- 
fected popularity among the neighbouring chieftains, 
who were pleased to see a Shehaab among them, and 
showed himself on every occasion a most loyal sub- 
ject of the Porte. At seventeen years of age, Fakre- 
deen was at the head of a powerful party, and had 
opened relations with the Divan. The Porte looked 
upon him with confidence, and although they in- 
tended, if possible, to govern Lebanon in future them- 
selves, a young prince of a great house, and a young 
prince so perfectly free from all disagreeable ante- 
cedents, was not to be treated lightly. All the lead- 



64 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

ers of all the parties of the mountain frequented the 
castle of Fakredeen, and each secretly believed that 
the prince was his pupil and his tool. There was 
not one of these men, grey though some of them 
were in years and craft, whom the innocent and in- 
genuous Fakredeen did not bend as a nose of wax, 
and, when Adam Besso returned to Syria in '43, he 
found his foster-child by far the most considerable 
person in the country, and all parties amid their 
doubts and distractions looking up to him with hope 
and confidence. He was then nineteen years of age, 
and Eva was sixteen. Fakredeen came instantly to 
Damascus to welcome them, hugged Besso, wept 
like a child over his sister, sat up the whole night 
on the terrace of their house smoking his nargileh, 
and telling them all his secrets without the slightest 
reserve: the most shameful actions of his career as 
well as the most brilliant; and finally proposed to 
Besso to raise a loan for the Lebanon, ostensibly to 
promote the cultivation of mulberries, really to sup- 
ply arms to the discontented population who were to 
make Fakredeen and Eva sovereigns of the mountain. 
It will have been observed, that to supply the 
partially disarmed tribes of the mountain with weap- 
ons was still, though at intervals, the great project of 
Fakredeen, and to obtain the result in his present 
destitution of resources involved him in endless strat- 
agems. His success would at the same time bind 
the tribes, already well affected to him, with unalter- 
able devotion to a chief capable of such an undenia- 
ble act of sovereignty, and of course render them 
proportionately more efficient instruments in accom- 
plishing his purpose. It was the interest of Fakredeen 
that the Lebanon should be powerful and disturbed. 



TANCRED 6s 

Besso, who had often befriended him, and who had 
frequently rescued him from the usurers of Beiroot and 
Sidon, lent a cold ear to these suggestions. The 
great merchant was not inchned again to embark in 
a political career, or pass another three or four years 
away from his Syrian palaces and gardens. He had 
seen the most powerful head that the East had pro- 
duced for a century, backed by vast means, and after 
having apparently accomplished his purpose, ulti- 
mately recoil before the superstitious fears of Chris- 
tendom, lest any change in Syria should precipitate 
the solution of the great Eastern problem. He could 
not believe that it was reserved for Fakredeen to suc- 
ceed in that which had baffled Mehemet Ali. 

Eva took the more sanguine view that becomes 
youth and woman. She had faith in Fakredeen. 
Though his position was not as powerful as that of 
the great viceroy, it was, in her opinion, more legiti- 
mate. He seemed indicated as the natural ruler of 
the mountain. She had faith, too, in his Arabian ori- 
gin. With Eva, what is called society assumed the 
character of a continual struggle between Asia and 
the North. She dreaded the idea that, after having 
escaped the crusaders, Syria should fall first under 
the protection, and then the colonisation of some 
European power. A link was wanted in the chain of 
resistance which connected the ranges of Caucasus 
with the Atlas. She idealised her foster-brother into 
a hero, and saw his standard on Mount Lebanon, the 
beacon of the oriental races, like the spear of Shami, 
or the pavilion of Abd-el-Kader. Eva had often in- 
fluenced her father for the advantage of Fakredeen, 
but at last even Eva felt that she should sue in vain. 

A year before, involved in difficulties which it 



66 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

seemed no combination could control, and having 
nearly occasioned the occupation of Syria by a united 
French and English force, Fakredeen burst out a-cry- 
ing like a little boy, and came whimpering to Eva, 
as if somebody had broken his toy or given him a 
beating. Then it was that Eva had obtained for him 
a final assistance from her father, the condition being, 
that this application should be the last. 

Eva had given him jewels, had interested other 
members of her family in his behalf, and effected for 
him a thousand services, which only a kind-hearted 
and quick-witted woman could devise. While Fakre- 
deen plundered her without scruple and used her 
without remorse, he doted on her; he held her intel- 
lect in absolute reverence; a word from her guided 
him; a look of displeasure, and his heart ached. As 
long as he was under the influence of her presence, 
he really had no will, scarcely an idea of his own. 
He spoke only to elicit her feelings and opinions. He 
had a superstition that she was born under a fortu- 
nate star, and that it was fatal to go counter to her. 
But the moment he was away, he would disobey, 
deceive, and, if necessary, betray her, loving her the 
same all the time. But what was to be expected 
from one whose impressions were equally quick and 
vivid, who felt so much for himself, and so much for 
others, that his life seemed a perpetual re-action be- 
tween intense selfishness and morbid sensibility ? 

Had Fakredeen married Eva, the union might have 
given him some steadiness of character, or at least 
its semblance. The young Emir had greatly desired 
this alliance, not for the moral purpose that we have 
intimated, not even from love of Eva, for he was to- 
tally insensible to domestic joys, but because he 



TANCRED 67 

wished to connect himself with great capitalists, and 
hoped to gain the Lebanon loan for a dower. But 
this alliance was quite out of the question. The hand 
of Eva was destined, according to the custom of the 
family, for her cousin, the eldest son of Basso of 
Aleppo. The engagement had been entered into while 
she was at Vienna, and it was then agreed that the 
marriage should take place soon after she had com- 
pleted her eighteenth year. The ceremony was there- 
fore at hand; it was to occur within a few months. 

Accustomed from an early period of life to the 
contemplation of this union, it assumed in the eyes 
of Eva a character as natural as that of birth or death. 
It never entered her head to ask herself whether she 
liked or disliked it. It was one of those inevitable 
things of which we are always conscious, yet of 
which we never think, like the years of our life or 
the colour of our hair. Had her destiny been in her 
own hands, it is probable that she would not have 
shared it with Fakredeen, for she had never for an 
instant entertained the wish that there should be any 
change in the relations which subsisted between 
them. According to the custom of the country, it 
was to Besso that Fakredeen had expressed his wishes 
and his hopes. The young Emir made liberal offers: 
his wife and children might follow any religion they 
pleased; nay, he was even ready to conform himself 
to any which they fixed upon. He attempted to daz- 
zle Besso with the prospect of a Hebrew Prince of the 
Mountains. 'My daughter,' said the merchant, 'would 
certainly, under any circumstances, marry one of her 
own faith; but we need not say another word about 
it; she is betrothed, and has been engaged for some 
years, to her cousin.' 



68 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

When Fakredeen, during his recent visit to Beth- 
any, found that Eva, notwithstanding her Bedouin 
blood, received his proposition for kidnapping a young 
English nobleman with the utmost alarm and even 
horror, he immediately relinquished it, diverted her 
mind from the contemplation of a project on her dis- 
approval of which, notwithstanding his efforts at dis- 
traction, she seemed strangely to dwell, and finally 
presented her with a new and more innocent scheme 
in which he required her assistance. According to 
Fakredeen, his new English acquaintance at Beiroot, 
whom he had before quoted, was ready to assist him 
in the fulfilment of his contract, provided he could 
obtain sufficient time from Scheriff Effendi; and what 
he wished Eva to do was personally to request the 
Egyptian merchant to grant time for this indulgence. 
This did not seem to Eva an unreasonable favour for 
her foster-brother to obtain, though she could easily 
comprehend why his previous irregularities might 
render him an unsuccessful suitor to his creditor. 
Glad that it was still in her power in some degree to 
assist him, and that his present project was at least 
a harmless one, Eva offered the next day to repair to 
the city and see Scheriff Eflfendi on his business. 
Pressing her hand to his heart, and saluting her with 
a thousand endearing names, the Emir quitted the 
Rose of Sharon with the tears in his grateful eyes. 

Now the exact position of Fakredeen was this: he 
had induced the Egyptian merchant to execute the 
contract for him by an assurance that Besso would be 
his security for the venture, although the peculiar 
nature of the transaction rendered it impossible for 
Besso, in his present delicate position, personally to 
interfere in it. To keep up appearances, Fakredeen, 



TANCRED 69 

with his usual audacious craft, had appointed Scheriff 
Effendi to meet him at Jerusalem, at the house of 
Besso, for the completion of the contract; and accord- 
ingly, on the afternoon of the day preceding his visit 
to Bethany, Fakredeen had arrived at Jerusalem with- 
out money, and without credit, in order to purchase 
arms for a province. 

The greatness of the conjuncture, the delightful 
climate, his sanguine temperament, combined, how- 
ever, to sustain him. As he traversed his delicious 
mountains, with their terraces of mulberries, and 
olives, and vines, lounged occasionally for a short 
time at the towns on the coast, and looked in at 
some of his creditors to chatter charming delusions, 
or feel his way for a new combination most neces- 
sary at this moment, his blood was quick and his 
brain creative; and although he had ridden nearly two 
hundred miles when he arrived at the 'Holy City,' he 
was fresh and full of faith that 'something would 
turn up.' His Egyptian friend, awfully punctual, was 
the first figure that welcomed him as he entered the 
divan of Besso, where the young Emir remained in 
the position which we have described, smoking inter- 
minable nargilehs while he revolved his affairs, until 
the conversation respecting the arrival of Tancred 
roused him from his brooding meditation. 

It was not difficult to avoid Scheriff Effendi for a 
while. The following morning, Fakredeen passed half 
a dozen hours at the bath, and then made his visit 
to Eva with the plot which had occurred to him the 
night before at the divan, and which had been ma- 
tured this day while they were shampooing him. 
The moment that, baffled, he again arrived at Jeru- 
salem, he sought his Egyptian merchant, and thus ad- 



70 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

dressed him: 'You see, Effendi, that you must not 
talk on this business to Besso, nor can Besso talk to 
you about it.' 

'Good!' said the Effendi. 

' But, if it be managed by another person to your 
satisfaction, it will be as well.' 

'One grain is like another.' 

' It will be managed by another person to your 
satisfaction.' 

'Good!' 

'The Rose of Sharon is the same in this business 
as her father?' 

' He is a ruby and she is a pearl.' 

'The Rose of Sharon will see you to-morrow 
about this business.' 

' Good! ' 

'The Rose of Sharon may ask you for time to 
settle everything; she has to communicate with other 
places. You have heard of such a city as Aleppo?' 

'If Damascus be an eye, Aleppo is an ear.' 

'Don't trouble the Rose of Sharon, Effendi, with 
any details if she speaks to you; but be content with 
all she proposes. She will ask, perhaps, for three 
months; women are nervous; they think robbers may 
seize the money on its way, or the key of the chest 
may not be found when it is wanted; you under- 
stand? Agree to what she proposes; but, between 
ourselves, 1 will meet you at Gaza on the day of the 
new moon, and it is finished.' 

'Good.' 

Faithful to her promise, at an early hour of the 
morrow, Eva, wrapped in a huge and hooded Arab 
cloak, so that her form could not in the slightest 
degree be traced, her face covered with a black Arab 



TANCRED 



71 



mask, mounted her horse; her two female attendants, 
habited in the same manner, followed their mistress; 
before whom marched her janissary armed to the 
teeth, while four Arab grooms walked on each side 
of the cavalcade. In this way, they entered Jeru- 
salem by the gate of Sion, and proceeded to the 
house of Besso. Fakredeen watched her arrival. He 
was in due time summoned to her presence, where 
he learned the success of her mission. 

'ScherifT EfTendi,' she said, 'has agreed to keep 
the arms for three months, you paying the usual rate 
of interest on the money. This is but just. May 
your new friend at Beiroot be more powerful than I 
am, and as faithful! ' 

'Beautiful Rose of Sharon! who can be like you! 
You inspire me; you always do. I feel persuaded 
that 1 shall get the money long before the time has 
elapsed,' And, so saying, he bade her farewell, to 
return, as he said, without loss of time to Beiroot. 




CHAPTER XXIX. 




Capture of the New Crusader. 

HE dawn was about to break in a 
cloudless sky, when Tancred, ac- 
companied by Baroni and two serv- 
ants, all well armed and well 
mounted, and by Hassan, a sheikh 
of the Jellaheen Bedouins, tall and 
grave, with a long spear tufted with ostrich feathers 
in his hand, his musket slung at his back, and a 
scimitar at his side, quitted Jerusalem by the gate of 
Bethlehem. 

If it were only to see the sun rise, or to become 
acquainted with nature at hours excluded from the 
experience of civilisation, it were worth while to be 
a traveller. There is something especially in the hour 
that precedes a Syrian dawn, which invigorates the 
frame and elevates the spirit. One cannot help fancy- 
ing that angels may have been resting on the moun- 
tain tops during the night, the air is so sweet and 
the earth so still. Nor, when it wakes, does it wake 
to the maddening cares of Europe. The beauty of a 
patriarchal repose still lingers about its existence in 
spite of its degradation. Notwithstanding all they 
have suffered during the European development, the 

(7=) 



TANCRED 73 

manners of the Asiatic races generally are more in 
harmony with nature than the complicated conven- 
tionalisms which harass their fatal rival, and which 
have increased in exact proportion as the Europeans 
have seceded from those Arabian and Syrian creeds 
that redeemed them from their primitive barbarism. 

But the light breaks, the rising beam falls on the 
gazelles still bounding on the hills of Judah, and 
gladdens the partridge which still calls among the ra- 
vines, as it did in the days of the prophets. About 
half-way between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Tancred 
and his companions halted at the tomb of Rachel: 
here awaited them a chosen band of twenty stout 
Jellaheens, the subjects of Sheikh Hassan, their escort 
through the wildernesses of Arabia Petraea. The fringed 
and ribbed kerchief of the desert, which must be 
distinguished from the turban, and is woven by their 
own women from the hair of the camel, covered the 
heads of the Bedouins; a short white gown, also of 
home manufacture, and very rude, with a belt of 
cords, completed, with slippers, their costume. 

Each man bore a musket and a dagger. 

It was Baroni who had made the arrangement 
with Sheikh Hassan. Baroni had long known him as 
a brave and faithful Arab. In general, these con- 
tracts with the Bedouins for convoy through the 
desert are made by Franks through their respective 
consuls, but Tancred was not sorry to be saved from 
the necessity of such an application, as it would have 
excited the attention of Colonel Brace, who passed 
his life at the British Consulate, and who probably 
would have thought it necessary to put on the uniform 
of the Bellamont yeomanry cavalry, and have attended 
the heir of Montacute to Mount Sinai. Tancred shud- 



74 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

dered at the idea of the presence of such a being at 
such a place, with his large ruddy face, his swagger- 
ing, sweltering figure, his flourishing whiskers, and 
his fat hands. 

It was the fifth morn after the visit of Tancred to 
Bethany, of which he had said nothing to Baroni, the 
only person at his command who could afford or ob- 
tain any information as to the name and quality of 
her with whom he had there so singularly become 
acquainted. He was far from incurious on the sub- 
ject; all that he had seen and all that he had heard 
at Bethany greatly interested him. But the reserve 
which ever controlled him, unless under the influence 
of great excitement, a reserve which was the result 
of pride and not of caution, would probably have 
checked any expression of his wishes on this head, 
even had he not been under the influence of those 
feelings which now absorbed him. A human being, 
animated by the hope, almost by the conviction, that 
a celestial communication is impending over his des- 
tiny, moves in a supernal sphere, which no earthly 
consideration can enter. The long musings of his 
voyage had been succeeded on the part of Tancred, 
since his arrival in the Holy Land, by one unbroken 
and impassioned reverie, heightened, not disturbed, 
by frequent and solitary prayer, by habitual fasts, and 
by those exciting conferences with Alonza Lara, in 
which he had struggled to penetrate the great Asian 
mystery, reserved however, if indeed ever expounded, 
for a longer initiation than had yet been proved by 
the son of the English noble. 

After a week of solitary preparation, during which 
he had interchanged no word, and maintained an ab- 
stinence which might have rivalled an old eremite of 



I 



TANCRED 75 

Engedi, Tancred had kneeled before that empty sepul- 
chre of the divine Prince of the house of David, for 
which his ancestor, Tancred de Montacute, six hun- 
dred years before, had struggled with those followers 
of Mahound, who, to the consternation and perplexity 
of Christendom, continued to retain it, Christendom 
cares nothing for that tomb now, has indeed for- 
gotten its own name, and calls itself enlightened 
Europe. But enlightened Europe is not happy. Its 
existence is a fever, which it calls progress. Progress 
to what? 

The youthful votary, during his vigils at the sacied 
tomb, had received solace but not inspiration. No 
voice from heaven had yet sounded, but his spirit 
was filled with the sanctity of the place, and he re- 
turned to his cell to prepare for fresh pilgrimages. 

One day, in conference with Lara, the Spanish 
Prior had let drop these words: 'Sinai led to Cal- 
vary; it may be wise to trace your steps from Cal- 
vary to Sinai.' 

At this moment, Tancred and his escort are in 
sight of Bethlehem, with the population of a village 
but the walls of a town, situate on an eminence 
overlooking a valley, which seems fertile after pass- 
ing the stony plain of Rephaim, The first beams of 
the sun, too, were rising from the mountains of 
Arabia and resting on the noble convent of the Na- 
tivity. 

From Bethlehem to Hebron, Canaan is still a land 
of milk and honey, though not so rich and pictur- 
esque as in the great expanse of Palestine to the 
north of the Holy City, The beauty and the abun- 
dance of the promised land may still be found in 
Samaria and Galilee; in the magnificent plains of Es- 



76 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

draelon, Zabulon, and Gennesareth; and ever by the 
gushing waters of the bowery Jordan. 

About an hour after leaving Bethlehem, in a se- 
cluded valley, is one of the few remaining public 
works of the great Hebrew Kings. It is in every 
respect worthy of them. I speak of those colossal 
reservoirs cut out of the native rock and fed by a 
single spring, discharging their waters into an aque- 
duct of perforated stone, which, until a comparatively 
recent period, still conveyed them to Jerusalem. 
They are three in number, of varying lengths from 
five to six hundred feet, and almost as broad; their 
depth still undiscovered. They communicate with 
each other, so that the water of the uppermost res- 
ervoir, flowing through the intermediate one, reached 
the third, which fed the aqueduct. They are lined 
with a hard cement like that which coats the pyra- 
mids, and which remains uninjured; and it appears 
that hanging gardens once surrounded them. The 
Arabs still call these reservoirs the pools of Solomon, 
nor is there any reason to doubt the tradition. Tra- 
dition, perhaps often more faithful than written docu- 
ments, is a sure and almost infaUible guide in the 
minds of the people where there has been no com- 
plicated variety of historic incidents to confuse and 
break the chain of memory; where their rare revolu- 
tions have consisted of an eruption once in a thou- 
sand years into the cultivated world; where society 
has never been broken up, but their domestic man- 
ners have remained the same; where, too, they re- 
vere truth, and are rigid in its oral delivery, since 
that is their only means of disseminating knowledge. 

There is no reason to doubt that these reservoirs 
were the works of Solomon. This secluded valley, 



TANCRED 77 

then, was once the scene of his imaginative and de- 
licious life. Here were his pleasure gardens; these 
slopes were covered with his fantastic terraces, and 
the high places glittered with his pavilions. The 
fountain that supplied these treasured waters was 
perhaps the 'sealed fountain,' to which he compared 
his bride; and here was the garden palace where the 
charming Queen of Sheba vainly expected to pose 
the wisdom of Israel, as she held at a distance be- 
fore the most dexterous of men the two garlands 
of flowers, alike in form and colour, and asked the 
great king, before his trembling court, to decide 
which of the wreaths was the real one. 

They are gone, they are vanished, these deeds of 
beauty and these words of wit! The bright and 
glorious gardens of the tiaraed poet and the royal 
sage, that once echoed with his lyric voice, or with 
the startling truths of his pregnant aphorisms, end in 
this wild and solitary valley, in which with folded 
arms and musing eye of long abstraction, Tancred 
halts in his ardent pilgrimage, nor can refrain from 
asking himself, ' Can it, then, be true that all is 
vanity ?' 

Why, what, is this desolation ? Why are there no 
more kings whose words are the treasured wisdom 
of countless ages, and the mention of whose name to 
this moment thrills the heart of the Oriental, from 
the waves of the midland ocean to the broad rivers of 
the farthest Ind ? Why are there no longer bright- 
witted queens to step out of their Arabian palaces 
and pay visits to the gorgeous ' house of the forest of 
Lebanon,' or to where Baalbec, or Tadmor in the 
wilderness, rose on those plains now strewn with the 
superb relics of their inimitable magnificence? 



78 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

And yet some flat-nosed Frank, full of bustle and 
puffed up with self-conceit (a race spawned perhaps 
in the morasses of some Northern forest hardly yet 
cleared), talks of Progress! Progress to what, and 
from whence ? Amid empires shrivelled into deserts, 
amid the wrecks of great cities, a single column or 
obelisk of which nations import for the prime orna- 
ment of their mud-built capitals, amid arts forgotten, 
commerce annihilated, fragmentary literatures and pop- 
ulations destroyed, the European talks of progress, 
because, by an ingenious application of some scien- 
tific acquirements, he has established a society which 
has mistaken comfort for civilisation. 

The soft beam of the declining sun fell upon a 
serene landscape; gentle undulations covered with 
rich shrubs or highly cultivated corn-fields and olive 
groves; sometimes numerous flocks; and then vine- 
yards fortified with walls and with watch-towers, as 
in the time of David, whose city Tancred was ap- 
proaching. Hebron, too, was the home of the great 
Sheikh Abraham; and the Arabs here possess his 
tomb, which no Christian is permitted to visit. It is 
strange and touching, that the children of Ishmael 
should have treated the name and memory of the 
Sheikh Abraham with so much reverence and affec- 
tion. But the circumstance that he was the friend of 
Allah appears with them entirely to have outweighed 
the recollection of his harsh treatment of their great 
progenitor. Hebron has even lost with them its an- 
cient Judaean name, and they always call it, in hon- 
our of the tomb of the Sheikh, the ' City of a Friend.' 

About an hour after Hebron, in a fair pasture, and 
near an olive grove, Tancred pitched his tent, pre- 
pared on the morrow to quit the land of promise, and 



TANCRED 79 

approach that 'great and terrible wilderness where 
there was no water.' 

'The children of Israel,' as they were called ac- 
cording to the custom then and now universally prev- 
alent among the Arabian tribes (as, for example, the 
Beni Kahtan, Beni Kelb, Beni Salem, Beni Sobh, Beni 
Ghamed, Beni Seydan, Beni Ali, Beni Hateym, all 
adopting for their description the name of their 
founder), the 'children of Israel' were originally a 
tribe of Arabia Petraea. Under the guidance of sheikhs 
of great ability, they emerged from their stony wild- 
erness and settled on the Syrian border. 

But they could not maintain themselves against 
the disciplined nations of Palestine, and they fell back 
to their desert, which they found intolerable. Like 
some of the Bedouin tribes of modern times in the 
rocky wastes contiguous to the Red Sea, they were 
unable to resist the temptations of the Egyptian cities; 
they left their free but distressful wilderness, and 
became Fellaheen. The Pharaohs, however, made 
them pay for their ready means of sustenance, as 
Mehemet Ali has made the Arabs of our days who 
have quitted the desert to eat the harvests of the 
Nile. They enslaved them, and worked them as 
beasts of burden. But this was not to be long borne 
by a race whose chiefs in the early ages had been 
favoured by Jehovah; the patriarch Emirs, who, issu- 
ing from the Caucasian cradle of the great races, 
spread over the plains of Mesopotamia, and dissemi- 
nated their illustrious seed throughout the Arabian 
wilderness. Their fiery imaginations brooded over 
the great traditions of their tribe, and at length there 
arose among them one of those men whose existence 
is an epoch in the history of human nature: a great 



8o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

creative spirit and organising mind, in whom the fac- 
ulties of conception and of action are equally balanced 
and possessed in the highest degree; in every respect 
a man of the complete Caucasian model, and almost 
as perfect as Adam when he was just finished and 
placed in Eden. 

But Jehovah recognised in Moses a human instru- 
ment too rare merely to be entrusted with the 
redemption of an Arabian tribe from a state of Fella- 
heen to Bedouin existence. And, therefore, he was 
summoned to be the organ of an eternal revelation of 
the Divine will, and his tribe were appointed to be 
the hereditary ministers of that mighty and mysteri- 
ous dispensation. 

It is to be noted, although the Omnipotent Creator 
might have found, had it pleased him, in the hum- 
blest of his creations, an efficient agent for his pur- 
pose, however difficult and sublime, that Divine 
Majesty has never thought fit to communicate except 
with human beings of the very highest powers. They 
are always men who have manifested an extraordi- 
nary aptitude for great affairs, and the possession of 
a fervent and commanding genius. They are great 
legislators, or great warriors, or great poets, or orators 
of the most vehement and impassioned spirit. Such 
were Moses, Joshua, the heroic youth of Hebron, and 
his magnificent son; such, too, was Isaiah, a man, 
humanly speaking, not inferior to Demosthenes, and 
struggling for a similar and as beautiful a cause, the 
independence of a small state, eminent for its intel- 
lectual power, against the barbarian grandeur of a 
military empire. All the great things have been done 
by the little nations. It is the Jordan and the Ilyssus 
that have civilised the modern races. An Arabian tribe, 



TANCRED 8 I 

a clan of the y^gean, have been the promulgators of 
all our knowledge; and we should never have heard 
of the Pharaohs, of Babylon the great and Nineveh 
the superb, of Cyrus and of Xerxes, had not it been 
for Athens and Jerusalem. 

Tancred rose with the sun from his encampment 
at Hebron, to traverse, probably, the same route pur- 
sued by the spies when they entered the Land of 
Promise. The transition from Canaan to the stony 
Arabia is not abrupt. A range of hills separates Pales- 
tine from a high but level country similar to the Syrian 
desert, sandy in some places, but covered in all with 
grass and shrubs; a vast expanse of downs. Grad- 
ually the herbage disappears, and the shrubs are only 
found tufting the ridgy tops of low undulating sand- 
hills. Soon the sand becomes stony, and no trace of 
vegetation is ever visible excepting occasionally some 
thorny plant. Then comes a land which alternates 
between plains of sand and dull ranges of monotonous 
hills covered with loose flints; sometimes the pilgrim 
winds his way through their dull ravines, sometimes 
he mounts the heights and beholds a prospect of in- 
terminable desolation. 

For three nights had Tancred encamped in this 
wilderness, halting at some spot where they could 
find some desert shrubs that might serve as food for 
the camels and fuel for themselves. His tent was 
soon pitched, the night fires soon crackling, and him- 
self seated at one with the Sheikh and Baroni, he be- 
held with interest and amusement the picturesque and 
flashing groups around him. Their fare was scant 
and simple: bread baked upon the spot, the dried 
tongue of a gazelle, the coffee of the neighbouring 
Mocha, and the pipe that ever consoles, if indeed the 

i6 B. D.— 6 



82 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

traveller, whatever his hardships, could need any sus- 
tenance but his own high thoughts in such a scene, 
canopied, too, by the most beautiful sky and the most 
delicious climate in the world. 

They were in the vicinity of Mount Seir; on the 
morrow they were to commence the passage of the 
lofty range which stretches on to Sinai, The Sheikh, 
who had a feud with a neighbouring tribe, and had 
been anxious and vigilant while they crossed the open 
country, riding on with an advanced guard before his 
charge, reconnoitring from sandhill to sandhill, often 
creeping up and lying on his breast, so as not to be 
visible to the enemy, congratulated Tancred that all 
imminent danger was past. 

'Not that I am afraid of them,' said Hassan, proudly; 
'but we must kill them or they will kill us.' Has- 
san, though Sheikh of his own immediate family and 
followers, was dependent on the great Sheikh of the 
Jellaheen tribe, and was bound to obey his commands 
in case the complete clan were summoned to congre- 
gate in any particular part of the desert. 

On the morrow they commenced their passage of 
the mountains, and, after clearing several ranges 
found themselves two hours after noon in a defile so 
strangely beautiful that to behold it would alone have 
repaid all the exertions and perils of the expedition, 
it was formed by precipitous rocks of a picturesque 
shape and of great height, and of colours so brilliant 
and so blended that to imagine them you must fancy 
the richest sunset you have ever witnessed, and that 
would be inferior, from the inevitable defect of its 
fleeting character. Here the tints, sometimes vivid, 
sometimes shadowed down, were always equally fair: 
light blue heights, streaked, perhaps, with scarlet and 



AFTER AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY HERMAN ROUNTREE 

Sheikh Hassan suddenly hurled his spear. 

(See page 8j.) 



TANCRED 83 

shaded off to lilac or purple; a cleft of bright orange; 
a broad peach-coloured expanse, veined in delicate 
circles and wavy lines of exquisite grace; sometimes 
yellow and purple stripes; sometimes an isolated 
steep of every hue flaming in the sun, and then, like 
a young queen on a gorgeous throne, from a vast 
rock of crimson and gold rose a milk-white summit. 
The frequent fissures of this defile were filled with 
rich woods of oleander and shrubs of every shade of 
green, from which rose acacia, and other trees un- 
known to Tancred, Over all this was a deep and 
cloudless sky, and through it a path winding amid a 
natural shrubbery, which princes would have built 
colossal conservatories to preserve. 

"lis a scene of enchantment that has risen to 
mock us in the middle of the desert,' exclaimed the 
enraptured pilgrim; 'surely it must vanish even as 
we gaze ! ' 

About half-way up the defile, when they had 
traversed it for about a quarter of an hour, Sheikh 
Hassan suddenly galloped forward and hurled his 
spear with great force at an isolated crag, the base of 
which was covered with oleanders, and then looking 
back he shouted to his companions. Tancred and the 
foremost hurried up to him. 

' Here are tracks of horses and camels that have 
entered the valley thus f^ir and not passed through it. 
They are fresh; let all be prepared.' 

'We are twenty-five men well armed,' said Baroni. 
'It is not the Tyahas that will attack such a band.' 

'Nor are they the Gherashi or the Mezeines,' said 
the Sheikh, 'for we know what they are after, and 
we are brothers.' 

'They must be Alouins,' said an Arab. 



84 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

At this moment the little caravan was apparently 
land-locked, the defile again winding; but presently it 
became quite straight, and its termination was visible, 
though at a considerable distance. 

'I see horsemen,' said the Sheikh; 'several of 
them advance; they are not Alouins.' 

He rode forward to meet them, accompanied by 
Tancred and Baroni. 

'Salaam,' said the Sheikh, 'how is it?' and then 
he added, aside to Baroni, 'They are strangers; why 
are they here?' 

'Aleikoum! We know where you come from,' 
was the reply of one of the horsemen. ' Is that the 
brother of the Queen of the English ? Let him ride 
with us, and you may go on in peace.' 

'He is my brother,' said Sheikh Hassan, 'and the 
brother of all here. There is no feud between us. 
Who are you?' 

' We are children of Jethro, and the great Sheikh 
has sent us a long way to give you salaam. Your 
desert here is not fit for the camel that your Prophet 
cursed. Come, let us finish our business, for we 
wish to see a place where there are palm trees.' 

'Are these children of Eblis?' said Sheikh Hassan 
to Baroni. 

'It is the day of judgment,' said Baroni, looking 
pale; 'such a thing has not happened in my time. I 
am lost.' 

'What do these people say?' inquired Tancred. 

'There is but one God,' said Sheikh Hassan, whose 
men had now reached him, 'and Mahomet is his 
Prophet. Stand aside, sons of Eblis, or you shall bite 
the earth which curses you!' 

A wild shout from every height of the defile was 



TANCRED 85 

the answer. They looked up, they looked round; 
the crest of every steep was covered with armed 
Arabs, each man with his musket levelled. 

'My lord,' said Baroni, 'there is something hidden 
in all this. This is not an ordinary desert foray. 
You are known, and this tribe comes from a distance 
to plunder you;' and then he rapidly detailed what 
had already passed. 

'What is your force, sons of Ebhs?' said the 
Sheikh to the horsemen, 

'Count your men, and your muskets, and your 
swords, and your horses, and your camels; and if 
they were all double, they would not be our force. 
Our great Sheikh would have come in person with 
ten thousand men, were not your wilderness here fit 
only for Giaours.' 

'Tell the young chief,' said the Sheikh to Baroni, 
'that 1 am his brother, and will shed the last drop of 
my blood in his service, as I am bound to do, as 
much as he is bound to give me ten thousand pias- 
tres for the journey, and ask him what he wishes.' 

'Demand to know distinctly what these men 
want,' said Tancred to Baroni, who then conferred 
with them. 

'They want your lordship,' said Baroni, 'whom 
they call the brother of the Queen of the English; 
their business is clearly to carry you to their great 
Sheikh, who will release you for a large ransom.' 

'And they have no feud with the Jellaheens?' 

'None; they are strangers; they come from a dis- 
tance for this purpose; nor can it be doubted that 
this plan has been concocted at Jerusalem.' 

'Our position, 1 fear, is fatal in this defile,' said 
Tancred; 'it is bitter to be the cause of exposing so 



86 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

many brave men to almost inevitable slaughter. Tell 
them, Baroni, that I am not the brother of the Queen 
of the English; that they are ridiculously misled, and 
that their aim is hopeless, for all that will be ran- 
somed will be my corpse.' 

Sheikh Hassan sat on his horse like a statue, with 
his spear in his hand and his eye on his enemy; 
Baroni, advancing to the strange horsemen, who were 
in position about ten yards from Tancred and his 
guardian, was soon engaged in animated conversation. 
He did all that an able diplomatist could effect; told 
lies with admirable grace, and made a hundred prop- 
ositions that did not commit his principal. He as- 
sured them very heartily that Tancred was not the 
brother of the Queen of the English; that he was only 
a young Sheikh, whose father was alive, and in pos- 
session of all the flocks and herds, camels and horses; 
that he had quarrelled with his father; that his father, 
perhaps, would not be sorry if he were got rid of, 
and would not give a hundred piastres to save his 
life. Then he offered, if he would let Tancred pass, 
himself to go with them as prisoner to their great 
Sheikh, and even proposed Hassan and half his men 
for additional hostages, whilst some just and equitable 
arrangement could be effected. All, however, was in 
vain. The enemy had no discretion; dead or alive, 
the young Englishman must be carried to their chief. 

*I can do nothing,' said Baroni, returning; 'there 
is something in all this which I do not understand. 
It has never happened in my time.' 

'There is, then, but one course to be taken,' said 
Tancred; 'we must charge through the defile. At 
any rate we shall have the satisfaction of dying like 
men. Let us each fix on our opponent. That auda- 



TANCRED 87 

cious-looking Arab in a red kefia shall be my victim, 
or my destroyer. Speak to tiie Siieikh, and tell him 
to prepare his men. Freeman and Trueman,' said 
Tancred, looking round to his English servants, 'we 
are in extreme peril; I took you from your homes; if 
we outlive this day, and return to Montacute, you 
shall live on your own land.' 

'Never mind us, my lord: if it worn't for those 
rocks we would beat these niggers.' 

'Are you all ready.?' said Tancred to Baroni. 

'We are all ready.' 

'Then I commend my soul to Jesus Christ, and to 
the God of Sinai, in whose cause I perish.' So saying, 
Tancred shot the Arab in the red kefia through the 
head, and with his remaining pistol disabled another 
of the enemy. This he did, while he and his band 
were charging, so suddenly and so boldly, that those 
immediately opposed to them were scattered. There 
was a continuous volley, however, from every part of 
the defile, and the scene was so involved in smoke 
that it was impossible for Tancred to see a yard 
around him; still he galloped on and felt concious 
that he had companions, though the shouting was so 
great that it was impossible to communicate. The 
smoke suddenly drifting, Tancred caught a glimpse 
of his position; he was at the mouth of the defile, 
followed by several of his men, whom he had not 
time to distinguish, and awaited by innumerable foes. 

'Let us sell our lives dearly!' was all that he could 
exclaim. His sword fell from his wounded arm; his 
horse, stabbed underneath, sank with him to the 
ground. He was overpowered and bound. ' Every 
drop of his blood,' exclaimed the leader of the strange 
Arabs, 'is worth ten thousand piastres.' 



CHAPTER XXX. 




Plans for Rescue. 

HERE is Besso?' said Barizy of the 

Tower, as the Consul Pasqualigo 

entered the divan of the merchant, 

about ten days after the departure 

of Tancred from Jerusalem for 

Mount Sinai. 

'Where is Besso? I have already smoked two 
chibouques, and no one has entered except yourself. 
I suppose you have heard the news?' 

'Who has not? It is in every one's mouth.' 
'What have you heard?' asked Barizy of the 
Tower, with an air of malicious curiosity. 

'Some things that everybody knows,' replied 
Pasqualigo, 'and some things that nobody knows.' 

'Hah, hah!' said Barizy of the Tower, pricking 
up his ears, and preparing for one of those diplomatic 
encounters of mutual pumping, in which he and his 
rival were practised. 'I suppose you have seen 
somebody, eh?' 

'Somebody has been seen.' replied Pasqualigo, and 
then he busied himself with his pipe just arrived. 

'But nobody has seen somebody who was on the 
spot?' said Barizy. 

(88) 



TANCRED 89 

'It depends upon what you mean by the spot,' 
replied Pasqualigo. 

'Your information is second-hand,' observed Ba- 
rizy. 

'But you acknowledge it is correct?' said Pasqua- 
ligo, more eagerly. 

'It depends upon whether your friend was present 
' and here Barizy hesitated. 

'It does,' said Pasqualigo. 

'Then he was present.?' said Barizy. 

'He was.' 

'Then he knows,' said Barizy, eagerly, 'whether 
the young English prince was murdered intentionally 
or by hazard.' 

'A — h,' said Pasqualigo, whom not the slightest 
rumour of the affair had yet reached, 'that is a great 
question.' 

'But everything depends upon it,' said Barizy. 'If 
he was killed accidentally, there will be negotiations, 
but the business will be compromised; the English 
want Cyprus, and they will take it as compensation. 
If it is an affair of malice prepense, there will be 
war, for the laws of England require war if blood 
royal be spilt.' 

The Consul Pasqualigo looked very grave; then, 
withdrawing his lips for a moment from his amber 
mouthpiece, he observed, ' It is a crisis.' 

'It will be a crisis,' said Barizy of the Tower, ex- 
cited by finding his rival a listener, 'but not for 
a long time. The crisis has not commenced. The 
first question is: to whom does the desert belong; to 
the Porte, or to the Viceroy ? ' 

'It depends upon what part of the desert is in 
question,' said Pasqualigo. 



90 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Of course the part where it took place. I say 
the Arabian desert belongs to the Viceroy; my cousin, 
Barizy of the Gate, says "No, it belongs to the Porte." 
Raphael Tafna says it belongs to neither. The Bed- 
ouins are independent.' 

' But they are not recognised,' said the Consul 
Pasqualigo. 'Without a diplomatic existence, they 
are nullities. England will hold all the recognised 
powers in the vicinity responsible. You will see! 
The murder of an English prince, under such circum- 
stances too, will not pass unavenged. The whole of 
the Turkish garrison of the city will march out directly 
into the desert.' 

'The Arabs care shroff for your Turkish garrison 
of the city,' said Barizy, with great derision. 

'They are eight hundred strong,' said Pasqua- 
ligo. 

'Eight hundred weak, you mean. No, as Raphael 
Tafna was saying, when Mehemet Ali was master, 
the tribes were quiet enough. But the Turks could 
never manage the Arabs, even in their best days. If 
the Pasha of Damascus were to go himself, the 
Bedouins would unveil his harem while he was 
smoking his nargileh.' 

'Then England will call upon the Egyptians,' said 
the Consul. 

'Hah!' said Barizy of the Tower, 'have I got 
you at last.? Now comes your crisis, I grant you. 
The English will send a ship of war with a protocol, 
and one of their lords who is a sailor: that is the 
way. They will call upon the pasha to exterminate 
the tribe who have murdered the brother of their 
queen; the pasha will reply, that when he was in 
Syria the brothers of queens were never murdered, 



TANCRED 91 

and put the protocol in his turban. This will never 
satisfy Palmerston; he will order ' 

' Palmerston has nothing to do with it,' screamed 
out Pasqualigo; 'he is no longer Reis Effendi; he is 
in exile; he is governor of the Isle of Wight.' 

'Do you think I do not know that.?' said Barizy 
of the Tower; 'but he will be recalled for this pur- 
pose. The English will not go to war in Syria with- 
out Palmerston. Palmerston will have the command 
of the fleet as well as of the army, that no one shall 
say "No" when he says "Yes." The English will 
not do the business of the Turks again for nothing. 
They will take this city; they will keep it. They 
want a new market for their cottons. Mark me: 
England will never be satisfied till the people of Jeru- 
salem wear calico turbans.' 

Let us inquire also with Barizy of the Tower, 
where was Besso ? Alone in his private chamber, 
agitated and troubled, awaiting the return of his 
daughter from the bath; and even now, the arrival 
may be heard of herself and her attendants in the 
inner court. 

'You want me, my father?' said Eva, as she en- 
tered. 'Ah! you are disturbed. What has happened.?' 

'The tenth plague of Pharaoh, my child,' replied 
Besso, in a tone of great vexation. 'Since the ex- 
pulsion of Ibrahim, there has been nothing which has 
crossed me so much.' 

' Fakredeen ?' 

'No, no; 'tis nothing to do with him, poor boy; 
but of one as young, and whose interests, though I 
know him not, scarcely less concern me.' 

'You know him not; 'tis not then my cousin. 
You perplex me, my father. Tell me at once.' 



92 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'It is the most vexatious of all conceivable occur- 
rences,' replied Besso, 'and yet it is about a person 
of whom you never heard, and whom 1 never saw; 
and yet there are circumstances connected with him. 
Alas! alas! you must know, my Eva, there is a 
young Englishman here, and a young English lord, of 
one of their princely families ' ■ 

'Yes!' said Eva, in a subdued but earnest tone. ^ 

'He brought me a letter from the best and 
greatest of men,* said Besso, with much emotion, 'to 
whom I, to whom we, owe everything: our fortunes, 
our presence here, perhaps our lives. There was 
nothing which I was not bound to do for him, which 
I was not ready and prepared to do. I ought to 
have guarded over him; to have forced my services 
on his acceptance; I blame myself now when it is 
too late. But he sent me his letter by the Intendant 
of his household, whom I knew. I was fearful to 
obtrude myself. I learnt he was fanatically Christian, 
and thought perhaps he might shrink from my ac- 
quaintance.' 

'And what has happened?' inquired Eva, with an 
agitation which proved her sympathy with her father's 
sorrow. 

'He left the city some days ago to visit Sinai; 
well armed and properly escorted. He has been way- 
laid in the wilderness and captured after a bloody 
struggle.' 

'A bloody struggle?' 

'Yes; they of course would gladly not have fought, 
but, though entrapped into an ambush, the young 
Englishman would not yield, but fought with des- 
peration. His assailants have suffered considerably; his 
own party comparatively little, for they were so placed; 



TANCRED 93 

surrounded, you understand, in a mountain defile, 
that they might have been all massacred, but the fear 
of destroying their prize restrained at first the marks- 
men on the heights; and, by a daring and violent 
charge, the young Englishman and his followers 
forced the pass, but they were overpowered by 
numbers.' 

'And he wounded ?' 

' 1 hope not severely. But you have heard noth- 
ing. They have sent his Intendant to Jerusalem with 
a guard of Arabs to bring back his ransom. What 
do you think they want?' 

Eva signified her inability to conjecture. 

'Two millions of piastres!' 

'Two millions of piastres! Did you say two? 
'Tis a great sum; but we might negotiate. They 
would accept less, perhaps much less, than two mil- 
lions of piastres.' 

'If it were four millions of piastres, I must pay 
it,' said Besso. "Tis not the sum alone that so 
crosses me. The father of this young noble is a 
great prince, and could doubtless pay, without seri- 
ous injury to himself, two millions of piastres for the 
ransom of his son; but that's not it. He comes here; 
he is sent to me. I was to care for him, think for 
him, guard over him: I have never even seen him; 
and he is wounded, plundered, and a prisoner!' 

'But if he avoided you, my father?' murmured 
Eva, with her eyes fixed upon the ground. 

'Avoided mel' said Besso; 'he never thought of 
me but as of a Jew banker, to whom he would send 
his servant for money when he needed it. Was I to 
stand on punctilios with a great Christian noble? I 
ought to have waited at his gate every day when he 



94 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

came forth, and bowed to the earth, until it pleased 
him to notice me; I ought ' 

'No, no, no, my father! you are bitter. This 
youth is not such as you think; at least, in all prob- 
ability is not,' said Eva. 'You hear he is fanatically 
Christian; he may be but deeply religious, and his 
thoughts at this moment may rest on other things 
than the business of the world. He who makes a 
pilgrimage to Sinai can scarcely think us so vile as 
you would intimate.' 

'What will he think of those whom he is among? 
Here is the wound, Eva! Guess, then, child, who 
has shot this arrow. 'Tis my father!' 

*0 traitor! traitor!' said Eva, quickly covering her 
face with her hands. 'My terror was prophetic! 
There is none so base!' 

'Nay, nay,' said Besso; 'these, indeed, are women's 
words. The great Sheikh in this has touched me 
nearly, but I see no baseness in it. He could not 
know the intimate relation that should subsist between 
me and this young Englishman. He has captured him 
in the desert, according to the custom of his tribe. 
Much as Amaiek may injure me, I must acquit him 
of treason and of baseness.' 

'Yes, yes,' said Eva, with an abstracted air. 'You 
misconceive me. I was thinking of others; and what 
do you purpose, my father?' 

'First, to clear myself of the deep stain that I now 
feel upon my life,' said Besso. 'This Englishman 
comes to Jerusalem with an unbounded credit on my 
house: he visits the wilderness, and is made prisoner 
by my father-in-law, who is in ambush in a part of 
the desert which his tribe never frequents, and who 
sends to me for a princely ransom for his captive. 



TANCRED 95 

These are the apparent circumstances. These are the 
facts. There is but one inference from them. I dare 
say 'tis drawn already by all the gossips of the city: 
they are hard at it, I doubt not, at this moment, in 
my own divan, winking their eyes and shrugging 
their shoulders, while they are smoking my choice 
tobacco, and drinking my sherbet of pomegranate. 
And can I blame them?' 

'A pure conscience may defy city gossips.' 

'A pure conscience must pay the ransom out of 
my own coffers. I am not over fond of paying two 
millions of piastres, or even half, for one whose shadow 
never fell upon my threshold. And yet I must do it: 
do it for my father-in-law, the Sheikh of the Recha- 
bites, whose peace I made with Mehemet Ali, for 
whom I gained the guardianship of the Mecca caravan 
through the Syrian desert for five years, who has 
twelve thousand camels which he made by that office. 
Oh, were it not for you, my daughter, I would curse 
the hour that I ever mixed my blood with the chil- 
dren of Jethro. After all, if the truth were known, 
they are sons of Ishmael.' 

'No, no, dear father, say not such things. You 
will send to the great Sheikh; he will listen ' 

'I send to the great Sheikh! You know not your 
grandfather, and you know not me. The truth is, 
the Sheikh and myself mutually despise each other, 
and we have never met with mt parting in bitterness. 
No, no; I would rather pay the ransom myself than 
ask a favour of the great Sheikh. But how can I pay 
the ransom, even if I chose ? This young English- 
man is a fiery youth: he will not yield even to an 
ambush and countless odds. Do you think a man 
who charges through a defile crowned with match- 



96 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

locks, and shoots men through the head, as I am told 
he did, in the name of Christ, will owe his freedom 
to my Jewish charity? He will burn the Temple 
first. This young man has the sword of Gideon. 
You know little of the world, Eva, and nothing of 
young Englishmen. There is not a race so proud, so 
wilful, so rash, and so obstinate. They live in a misty 
chme, on raw meats, and wines of fire. They laugh 
at their fathers, and never say a prayer. They pass 
their days in the chase, gaming, and all violent 
courses. They have all the power of the State, and 
all its wealth; and when they can wring no more 
from their peasants, they plunder the kings of India.' 

'But this young Englishman, you say, is pious?' 
said Eva. 

Ah! this young Englishman; why did he come 
here ? What is Jerusalem to him, or he to Jerusalem ? 
His Intendant, himself a prisoner, waits here. 1 must 
see him; he is one of the people of my patron, which 
proves our great friend's interest in this youth. O 
day thrice cursed! day of a thousand evil eyes! day 
of a new captivity ' 

'My father, my dear father, these bursts of grief 
do not become your fame for wisdom. We must in- 
quire, we must hold counsel. Let me see the Intend- 
ant of this English youth, and hear more than I have 
yet learnt. I cannot think that affairs are so hopeless 
as you paint them: 1 will believe that there is a 
spring near.' 





CHAPTER XXXI. 

Parleyings. 

N AN almost circular valley, sur- 
rounded by mountains, Amalek, 
great Sheikh of the Rechabite Bed- 
ouins, after having crossed the 
peninsula of Petraea from the great 
Syrian desert, pitched his camp 
amid the magnificent ruins of an ancient Idumaean city. 
The pavilion of the chief, facing the sunset, was 
raised in the arena of an amphitheatre cut out of the solid 
rock and almost the whole of the seats of which were 
entire. The sides of the mountains were covered 
with excavated tombs and temples, and, perhaps, 
dwelling-places; at any rate, many of them were now 
occupied by human beings. Fragments of columns 
were lying about, and masses of unknown walls. 
From a defile in the mountains issued a stream, which 
wound about in the plain, its waters almost hid, but 
its course beautifully indicated by the undulating 
shrubbery of oleanders, fig-trees, and willows. On 
one side of these, between the water and the amphi- 
theatre, was a crescent of black tents, groups of 
horses, and crouching camels. Over the whole scene 
the sunset threw a violet hue, while the moon, broad 
and white, floated over the opposite hills. 

i6 B. D.-7 (97) 



98 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The carpet of the great Sheikh was placed before 
his pavilion, and, seated on it alone, and smoking a 
chibouque of date wood, the patriarch ruminated. He 
had no appearance of age, except from a snowy 
beard, which was very long: a wiry man, with an 
un wrinkled face; dark, regular, and noble features, 
beautiful teeth. Over his head, a crimson kefia, ribbed 
and fringed with gold; his robe was of the same 
colour, and his boots were of red leather; the chief 
of one of the great tribes, and said, when they were 
united, to be able to bring ten thousand horsemen 
into the field. 

One at full gallop, with a long spear, at this mo- 
ment darted from the ravine, and, without stopping 
to answer several who addressed him, hurried across 
the plain, and did not halt until he reached the 
Sheikh. 

'Salaam, Sheikh of Sheikhs, it is done; the brother 
of the Queen of the English is your slave.' 

'Good!' said Sheikh Amalek, very gravely, and 
taking his pipe from his mouth. 'May your mother 
eat the hump of a young camel! When will they be 
here ? ' 

'They will be the first shadows of the moon.' 

'Good! is the brother of the Queen with Sheikh 
Salem?' 

'There is only one God: Sheikh Salem will never 
drink leban again, unless he drink it in Paradise.' 

'Certainly, there is only one God. What! has he 
fallen asleep into the well of Nummula?' 

'No; but we have seen many evil eyes. Four 
hares crossed our path this morning. Our salaam to 
the English prince was not a salaam of peace. The 
brother of the Queen of the English is no less than 



I 



TANCRED 99 

an Antar. He will fight, yea or nay; and he has shot 
Sheikh Salem through the head.' 

'There is but one God, and His will be done. I 
have lost the apple of mine eye. The Prince of the 
English is alive?' 

'He is alive.' 

'Good! camels shall be given to the widow of 
Sheikh Salem, and she shall be married to a new 
husband. Are there other deeds of Gin?' 

'One grape will not make a bunch, even though 
it be a great one,' 

' Let truth always be spoken. Let your words 
flow as the rock of Moses.' 

'There is only one God: if you call to Ibrahim- 
ben-Hassan, to Molgrabi Teuba, and Teuba-ben-Amin, 
they will not be roused from their sleep: there are 
also wounds.' 

'Tell all the people there is only one God: it is 
the Sheikh of the Jellaheens that has done these deeds 
of Gin ? ' 

'Let truth always be spoken; my words shall flow 
as the rock of Moses. The Sheikh of the Jellaheens 
counselled the young man not to fight, but the young 
man is a very Zatanai. Certainly there are many 
devils, but there is no devil like a Frank in a round 
hat.' 

The evening advanced; the white moon, that had 
only gleamed, now glittered; the necks of the camels 
looked tall and silvery in its beam. The night-fires 
began to blaze, the lamps to twinkle in the crescent 
of dark tents. There was a shout, a general stir, the 
heads of spears were seen glistening in the ravine. 
They came; a winding line of warriors. Some, as 
they emerged into the plain, galloped forward and 



lOO BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

threw their spears into the air; but the main body 
preserved an appearance of discipline, and proceeded 
at a slow pace to the pavilion of the Sheikh. A body 
of horsemen came first; then warriors on dromedaries; 
Sheikh Hassan next, grave and erect as if nothing had 
happened, though he was wounded, and followed by 
his men, disarmed, though their chief retained his 
spear. Baroni followed. He was unhurt, and rode 
between two Bedouins, with whom he continually 
conversed. After them, the bodies of Sheikh Salem 
and his comrades, covered with cloaks and stowed 
on camels. And then came the great prize, Tancred, 
mounted on a dromedary, his right arm bound up in 
a sling which Baroni had hastily made, and sur- 
rounded and followed by a large troop of horsemen, 
who treated him with the highest consideration, not 
only because he was a great prince, whose ransom 
could bring many camels to their tribe, but because 
he had shown those feats of valour which the wild 
desert honours. 

Notwithstanding his wound, which, though slight, 
began to be painful, and the extreme vexation of the 
whole affair, Tancred could not be insensible to the 
strange beauty of the scene which welcomed him. 
He had read of these deserted cities, carved out of 
the rocks of the wilderness, and once the capitals of 
flourishing and abounding kingdoms. 

They stopped before the pavilion of the great 
Sheikh; the arena of the amphitheatre became filled 
with camels, horses, groups of warriors; many mounted 
on the seats, that they might overlook the scene, 
their arms and shawled heads glistening in the silver 
blaze of the moon or the ruddy flames of the watch- 
fires. They assisted Tancred to descend, they ushered 



TANCRED loi 

him with courtesy to their chief, who made room 
for Tancred on his own carpet, and motioned that 
he should be seated by his side. A small carpet 
was placed for Sheikh Hassan, and another for Ba- 
roni. 

'Salaam, brother of many queens, all that you see 
is yours; Salaam Sheikh Hassan, we are brothers. 
Salaam,' added Amalek, looking at Baroni, 'they tell 
me that you can speak our language, which is beau- 
tiful as the moon and many palm trees; tell the 
prince, brother of many queens, that he mistook the 
message that 1 sent him this morning, which was an 
invitation to a feast, not to a war. Tell him we are 
brothers.' 

'Tell the Sheikh,' said Tancred, 'that I have no 
appetite for feasting, and desire to be informed why 
he has made me a prisoner.' 

' Tell the prince, brother of many queens, that he 
is not a prisoner, but a guest.' 

'Ask the Sheikh, then, whether we can depart at 
once.' 

'Tell the prince, brother of many queens, that it 
would be rude in me to let him depart to-night.' 

'Ask the Sheikh whether I may depart in the 
morning.' 

'Tell the prince that, when the morning comes, 
he will find I am his brother.' So saying, the great 
Sheikh took his pipe from his mouth and gave it to 
Tancred: the greatest of distinctions. In a few mo- 
ments, pipes were also brought to Sheikh Hassan and 
Baroni. 

'No harm can come to you, my lord, after smok- 
ing that pipe,' said Baroni. 'We must make the best 
of affairs. I have been in worse straits with M. de 



t^ 



I02 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Sidonia. What think you of Malay pirates? These 
are all gentlemen.' 

While Baroni was speaking, a young man slowly 
and with dignity passed through the bystanders, ad- 
vanced, and, looking very earnestly at Tancred, seated 
himself on the same carpet as the grand Sheikh. 
This action alone would have betokened the quahty 
of the newcomer, had not his kefia, similar to that 
of Sheikh Amalek, and his whole bearing, clearly de- 
noted his princely character. He was very young; 
and Tancred, while he was struck by his earnest 
gaze, was attracted by his physiognomy, which, in- 
deed, from its refined beauty and cast of impassioned 
intelligence, was highly interesting. 

Preparations all this time had been making for the 
feast. Half a dozen sheep had been given to the re- 
turning band; everywhere resounded the grinding of 
coffee; men passed, carrying pitchers of leban and 
panniers of bread cakes hot from their simple oven. 
The great Sheikh, who had asked many questions 
after the oriental fashion: which was the most power- 
ful nation, England or France; what was the name 
of a third European nation of which he had heard, 
white men with flat noses in green coats; whether 
the nation of white men with flat noses in green 
coats could have taken Acre as the English had, the 
taking of Acre being the test of military prowess; 
how many horses the Queen of the English had, and 
how many slaves; whether English pistols are good; 
whether the English drink wine; whether the English 
are Christian giaours or Pagan giaours ? and so on, 
now invited Tancred, Sheikh Hassan, and two or 
three others, to enter his pavilion and partake of the 
banquet. 



TANCRED 103 

'The Sheikh must excuse me,' said Tancred to 
Baroni; 'I am wearied and wounded. Ask if I can 
retire and have a tent.' 

'Are you wounded?' said the young Sheikh, who 
was sitting on the carpet of Amalek, and speaking, 
not only in a tone of touching sympathy, but in the 
language of Franguestan. 

'Not severely,' said Tancred, less abruptly than he 
had yet spoken, for the manner and the appearance 
of the youth touched him, 'but this is my first fight, 
and perhaps I make too much of it. However, my 
arm is painful and stiff, and indeed, you may conceive 
after all this, I could wish for a little repose.' 

' The great Sheikh has allotted you a compartment 
of his pavilion,' said the youth; 'but it will prove a 
noisy resting-place, I fear, for a wounded man. I 
have a tent here, an humbler one, but which is at 
least tranquil. Let me be your host!' 

' You are most gracious, and I should be much in- 
clined to be your guest, but I am a prisoner,' he 
said, haughtily, 'and cannot presume to follow my own 
will.' 

'I will arrange all,' said the youth, and he con- 
versed with Sheikh Amalek for some moments. 
Then they all rose, the young man advancing to Tan- 
cred, and saying in a sweet coaxing voice, ' You are 
under my care. I will not be a cruel gaoler; I could 
not be to you.' So saying, making their reverence 
to the great Sheikh, the two young men retired 
together from the arena. Baroni would have followed 
them, when the youth stopped him, saying, with 
decision, 'The great Sheikh expects your presence; 
you must on no account be absent. I will tend 
your chief: you will permit me?' he inquired in a 



I04 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tone of sympathy, and then, offering to support the 
arm of Tancred, he murmured, ' It kills me to think 
that you are wounded.' 

Tancred was attracted to the young stranger: his 
prepossessing appearance, his soft manners, the con- 
trast which they afforded to all around, and to the 
scenes and circumstances which Tancred had recently 
experienced, were winning. Tancred, therefore, gladly 
accompanied him to his pavilion, which was pitched 
outside the amphitheatre, and stood apart. Notwith- 
standing the modest description of his tent by the 
young Sheikh, it was by no means inconsiderable in 
size, for it possessed several compartments, and was 
of a different colour and fashion from those of the 
rest of the tribe. Several steeds were picketed in 
Arab fashion near its entrance, and a group of at- 
tendants, smoking and conversing with great anima- 
tion, were sitting in a circle close at hand. They 
pressed their hands to their hearts as Tancred and his 
host passed them, but did not rise. Within the pa- 
vilion, Tancred found a luxurious medley of cushions 
and soft carpets, forming a delightful divan; pipes and 
arms, and, to his great surprise, several numbers of 
a French newspaper published at Smyrna. 

'Ah!' exclaimed Tancred, throwing himself on the 
divan, 'after all I have gone through to-day, this Is 
indeed a great and an unexpected relief.' 

"Tis your own divan,' said the young Arab, clap- 
ping his hands; 'and when I have given some orders 
for your comfort, I shall only be your guest, though 
not a distant one.' He spoke some words in Arabic 
to an attendant who entered, and who returned very 
shortly with a silver lamp fed with palm oil, which 
he placed on the ground. 



TANCRED 105 

'I have two poor Englishmen here,' said Tancred, 
'my servants; they must be in sad straits; unable to 
speak a word ' 

'I will give orders that they shall attend you. In 
the meantime you must refresh yourself, however 
lightly, before you repose.' At this moment there 
entered the tent several attendants with a variety of 
dishes, which Tancred would have declined, but the 
young Sheikh, selecting one of them, said, 'This, at 
least, I must urge you to taste, for it is a favourite 
refreshment with us after great fatigue, and has some 
properties of great virtue.' So saying, he handed to 
Tancred a dish of bread, dates, and prepared cream, 
which Tancred, notwithstanding his previous want of 
relish, cheerfully admitted to be excellent. After this, 
as Tancred would partake of no other dish, pipes 
were brought to the two young men, who, reclining 
on the divan, smoked and conversed. 

'Of all the strange things that have happened to 
me to-day,' said Tancred, 'not the least surprising, 
and certainly the most agreeable, has been making 
your acquaintance. Your courtesy has much com- 
pensated me for the rude treatment of your tribe; but, 
1 confess, such refinement is what, under any circum- 
stances, I should not have expected to find among 
the tents of the desert, any more than this French 
journal.' 

'I am not an Arab,' said the young man, speak- 
ing slowly and with an air of some embarrassment. 

'Ah!' exclaimed Tancred. 

'1 am a Christian prince.' 

'Yes!' 

' A prince of the Lebanon, devoted to the English, 
and one who has suffered much in their cause.' 



io6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'You are not a prisoner here, like myself?' 

'No, 1 am here, seeking some assistance for those 
sufferers who should be my subjects, were I not de- 
prived of my sceptre, and they of a prince whose 
family has reigned over and protected them for more 
than seven centuries. The powerful tribe of which 
Sheikh Amalek is the head often pitch their tents in 
the great Syrian desert, in the neighbourhood of 
Damascus, and there are affairs in which they can aid 
my unhappy people.' 

'It is a great position, yours,' said Tancred, in an 
animated tone, 'at the same time a Syrian and a 
Christian prince! ' 

'Yes,' said the young Emir, eagerly, 'if the Eng- 
lish would only understand their own interests, with 
my co-operation Syria might be theirs.' 

'The English!' said Tancred, 'why should the 
English take Syria?' 

'France will take it if they do not.' 

'1 hope not,' said Tancred. 

'But something must be done,' said the Emir. 
'The Porte never could govern it. Do you think 
anybody in Lebanon really cares for the Pasha of 
Damascus? If the Egyptians had not disarmed the 
mountain, the Turks would be driven out of Syria in 
a week.' 

'A Syrian and a Christian prince!' said Tancred, 
musingly. • There are elements in that position 
stronger than the Porte, stronger than England, 
stronger than united Europe. Syria was a great 
country when France and England were forests. The 
tricolour has crossed the Alps and the Rhine, and 
the flag of England has beaten even the tricolour; 



TANCRED 107 

but if I were a Syrian prince, I would raise tlie 
cross of Clirist and ask for the aid of no foreign 
banner.' 

'If 1 could only raise a loan,' said the Emir, 'I 
could do without France and England.' 

'A loan!' exclaimed Tancred; 'I see the poison of 
modern liberalism has penetrated even the desert. 
Believe me, national redemption is not an affair of 
usury.' 

At this moment there was some little disturbance 
without the tent, which it seems was occasioned by 
the arrival of Tancred's servants, Freeman and True- 
man. These excellent young men persisted in ad- 
dressing the Arabs in their native English, and, though 
we cannot for a moment believe that they fancied 
themselves understood, still, from a mixture of pride 
and perverseness peculiarly British, they continued 
their valuable discourse as if every word told, or, if 
not apprehended, was a striking proof of the sheer 
stupidity of their new companions. The noise be- 
came louder and louder, and at length Freeman and 
Trueman entered. 

'Well,' said Tancred, 'and how have you been 
getting on.?' 

'Well, my lord, I don't know,' said Freeman, 
with a sort of jolly sneer; 'we have been dining with 
the savages.' 

'They are not savages, Freeman.' 

'Well, my lord, they have not much more clothes, 
anyhow; and as for knives and forks, there is not 
such a thing known.' 

' As for that, there was not such a thing known 
as a fork in England Httle more than two hundred 



io8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

years ago, and we were not savages then; for the 
best part of Montacute Castle was built long before 
that time.' 

'I wish we were there, my lord!' 

'I dare say you do: however, we must make the 
best of present circumstances. I wanted to know, in 
the first place, whether you had food; as for lodging, 
Mr. Baroni, I dare say, will manage something for 
you; and if not, you had better quarter yourselves by 
the side of this tent. With your own cloaks and 
mine, you will manage very well.' 

' Thank you, my lord. We have brought your 
lordship's things with us. 1 don't know what I shall 
do to-morrow about your lordship's boots. The sav- 
ages have got hold of the bottle of blacking and have 
been drinking it like anything.' 

'Never mind my boots,' said Tancred, 'we have 
got other things to think of now.' 

'1 told them what it was,' said Freeman, 'but 
they went on just the same.' 

'Obstinate dogs!' said Tancred. 

'1 think they took it for wine, my lord,' said 
Trueman. ' 1 never see such ignorant creatures.' 

' You find now the advantage of a good educa- 
tion, Trueman.' 

' Yes, my lord, we do, and feel very grateful to 
your lordship's honoured mother for the same. When 
we came down out of the mountains and see those 
blazing fires, if I didn't think they were going to 
burn us alive, unless we changed our religion! I said 
the catechism as hard as I could the whole way, and 
felt as much like a blessed martyr as could be.' 

'Well, well,' said Tancred, 'I dare say they will 
spare our lives. I cannot much assist you here; but 



TANCRED 109 

if there be anything you particularly want, I will try 
and see what can be done.' 

Freeman and Trueman looked at each other, and 
their speaking faces held common consultation. At 
length, the former, with some slight hesitation, said, 
'We don't like to be troublesome, my lord, but if 
your lordship would ask for some sugar for us; we 
cannot drink their coffee without sugar.' 




CHAPTER XXXII. 




Suspense. 

WOULD not mention it to your 
lordship last night,' said Baroni; 
I thought enough had happened 
for one day.' 

' But now you think I am suf- 
ficiently fresh for new troubles.' 
' He spoke it in Hebrew, that myself and Sheikh 
Hassan should not understand him, but I know some- 
thing of that dialect.' 

'In Hebrew! And why in Hebrew?' 
'They follow the laws of Moses, this tribe.' 
'Do you mean that they are Jews?' 
'The Arabs are only Jews upon horseback,' said 
Baroni. 'This tribe, I find, call themselves Recha- 
bites.' 

'Ah!' exclaimed Tancred, and he began to muse. 
'I have heard of that name before. Is it possible,' 
thought he, 'that my visit to Bethany should have 
led to this captivity?' 

'This affair must have been planned at Jerusalem,' 
said Baroni; 'I saw from the first it was not a com- 
mon foray. These people know everything. They 
will send immediately to Besso; they know he is 
your banker, and that if you want to build the 

(no) 



TANCRED III 

Temple, he must pay for it, and unless a most im- 
moderate ransom is given, they will carry us all into 
the interior of the desert.' 

'And what do you counsel?' 

'In this, as in all things, to gain time; and prin- 
cipally because 1 am without resource, but with time 
expedients develop themselves. Naturally, what is 
wanted will come; expediency is a law of nature. 
The camel is a wonderful animal, but the desert 
made the camel. I have already impressed upon the 
great Sheikh that you are not a prince of the blood; 
that your father is ruined, that there has been a mur- 
rain for three years among his herds and flocks; and 
that, though you appear to be travelling for amuse- 
ment, you are, in fact, a political exile. All these are 
grounds for a reduced ransom. At present he be- 
lieves nothing that I say, because his mind has been 
previously impressed with contrary and more cogent 
representations, but what I say will begin to work 
when he has experienced some disappointment, and 
the period of re-action arrives. Re-action is the law 
of society; it is inevitable. All success depends upon 
seizing it.' 

'It appears to me that you are a great philosopher, 
Baroni,' said Tancred. 

'I travelled five years with M. de Sidonia,' said 
Baroni. 'We were in perpetual scrapes, often worse 
than this, and my master moralised upon every one 
of them. I shared his adventures, and I imbibed some 
of his wisdom; and the consequence is, that I always 
ought to know what to say, and generally what 
to do.' 

' Well, here at least is some theatre for your prac- 
tice; though, as far as I can form an opinion, our 



112 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

course is simple, though ignominious. We must re- 
deem ourselves from captivity. If it were only the 
end of my crusade, one might submit to it, like Coeur 
de Lion, after due suffering; but occurring at the com- 
mencement, the catastrophe is mortifying, and I doubt 
whether I shall have heart enough to pursue my 
way. Were I alone, I certainly would not submit to 
ransom. I would look upon captivity as one of those 
trials that await me, and I would endeavour to ex- 
tricate myself from it by courage and address, relying 
ever on Divine aid; but I am not alone. I have in- 
volved you in this mischance, and these poor Eng- 
lishmen, and, it would seem, the brave Hassan and 
his tribe. I can hardly ask you to make the sacrifice 
which I would cheerfully endure; and therefore it 
seems to me that we have only one course — to march 
under the forks.' 

'With submission,' said Baroni, 'I cannot agree 
with any of your lordship's propositions. You take 
an extreme view of our case. Extreme views are 
never just; something always turns up which disturbs 
the calculations formed upon their decided data. This 
something is circumstance. Circumstance has decided 
every crisis which I have experienced, and not the 
primitive facts on which we have consulted. Rest 
assured that circumstance will clear us now.' 

' I see no room, in our situation, for the accidents 
on which you rely,' said Tancred. 'Circumstance, as 
you call it, is the creature of cities, where the action 
of a multitude, influenced by different motives, pro- 
duces innumerable and ever-changing combinations; 
but we are in the desert. The great Sheikh will 
never change his mind any more than his habits of 
life, which are the same as his ancestors pursued 



TANCRED 113 

thousands of years ago; and, for an identical reason, 
he is isolated and superior to all influences.' 

'Something always turns up,' said Baroni, 

'It seems to me that we are in 2i cul-de-sac,' said 
Tancred. 

'There is always an outlet; one can escape from a 
cul-de-sac by a window.' 

' Do you think it would be advisable to consult 
the master of this tent?' said Tancred, in a lower 
tone. 'He is very friendly.' 

'The Emir Fakredeen,' said Baroni. 

' Is that his name ? ' 

'So I learnt last night. He is a prince of the 
house of Shehaab; a great house, but fallen.' 

'He is a Christian,' said Tancred, earnestly. 

'Is he?' said Baroni carelessly; '1 have known a 
good many Shehaabs, and if you will tell me their 
company, I will tell you their creed.' 

'He might give us some advice.' 

'No doubt of it, my lord; if advice could break 
our chains, we should soon be free; but in these 
countries my only confidant is my camel. Assuming 
that this affair is to end in a ransom, what we want 
now is to change the impressions of the great Sheikh 
respecting your wealth. This can only be done from 
the same spot where the original ideas emanated. I 
must induce him to permit me to accompany his 
messenger to Besso. This mission will take time, 
and he who gains time gains everything, as M, de 
Sidonia said to me when the savages were going to 
burn us alive, and there came on a thunder-storm 
which extinguished their fagots.' 

' You must really tell me your history some day, 
Baroni,' said Tancred, 



114 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'When my mission has failed. It will perhaps re- 
lieve your imprisonment; at present, I repeat, we 
must work for a moderate ransom, instead of the 
millions of which they talk, and during the negotia- 
tion take the chance of some incident which will 
more agreeably free us.' 

'Ah! I despair of that.' 

'I do not, for it is presumptuous to believe that 
man can foresee the future, which will be your lord- 
ship's case, if you owe your freedom only to your 
piastres.' 

' But they say that everything is calculation, Ba- 
roni.' 

'No,' said Baroni, with energy, 'everything is 
adventure.' 

In the meantime the Emir Fakredeen was the prey 
of contending emotions. Tancred had from the first, 
and in an instant, exercised over his susceptible tem- 
perament that magnetic influence to which he was so 
strangely subject. In the heart of the wilderness and 
in the person of his victim, the young Emir suddenly 
recognised the heroic character which he had himself 
so vaguely and, as it now seemed to him, so vainly 
attempted to realise. The appearance and the courage 
of Tancred, the thoughtful repose of his manner, his 
high bearing amid the distressful circumstances in 
which he was involved, and the large views which 
the few words that had escaped from him on the 
preceding evening would intimate that he took of 
public transactions, completely captivated Fakredeen, 
who seemed at length to have found the friend for 
whom he had often sighed; the steadfast and com- 
manding spirit, whose control, he felt conscious, was 
often required by his quick but whimsical tempera- 



TANCRED 115 

ment. And in what relation did he stand to this be- 
ing whom he longed to press to his heart, and then 
go forth with him and conquer the world ? It would 
not bear contemplation. The arming of the Maronites 
became quite a secondary object in comparison with 
obtaining the friendship of Tancred, Would that he 
had not involved himself in this conspiracy! and yet, 
but for this conspiracy, Tancred and himself might 
never have met. It was impossible to grapple with the 
question; circumstances must be watched, and some 
new combination formed to extricate both of them 
from their present perplexed position. 

Fakredeen sent one of his attendants in the morn- 
ing to offer Tancred horses, should his guest, as is 
the custom of Englishmen, care to explore the neigh- 
bouring ruins which were celebrated; but Tancred's 
wound kept him confined to his tent. Then the 
Emir begged permission to pay him a visit, which 
was to have lasted only a quarter of an hour; but 
when Fakredeen had once established himself in the 
divan with his nargileh, he never quitted it. It would 
have been difficult for Tancred to have found a more 
interesting companion; impossible to have made an 
acquaintance more singularly unreserved. His frank- 
ness was startling. Tancred had no experience of 
such self-revelations; such a jumble of sublime aspi- 
rations and equivocal conduct; such a total disregard 
of means, such complicated plots, such a fertility of 
perplexed and tenebrous intrigue! The animated 
manner and the picturesque phrase, too, in which all 
this was communicated, heightened the interest and 
effect. Fakredeen sketched a character in a sentence, 
and you knew instantly the individual whom he de- 
scribed without any personal knowledge. Unlike the 



ii6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Orientals in general, his gestures were as vivid as his 
words. He acted the interviews, he achieved the ad- 
ventures before you. His voice could take every 
tone and his countenance every form. In the midst 
of all this, bursts of plaintive melancholy; sometimes 
the anguish of a sensibility too exquisite, alternating 
with a devilish mockery and a fatal absence of all 
self-respect. 

'It appears to me,' said Tancred, when the young 
Emir had declared his star accursed, since, after the 
ceaseless exertions of years, he was still as distant 
as ever from the accomplishment of his purpose, * it 
appears to me that your system is essentially errone- 
ous. I do not believe that anything great is ever 
effected by management. All this intrigue, in which 
you seem such an adept, might be of some service 
in a court or in an exclusive senate; but to free a 
nation you require something more vigorous and 
more simple. This system of intrigue in Europe is 
quite old-fashioned. It is one of the superstitions left 
us by the wretched eighteenth century, a period 
when aristocracy was rampant throughout Christen- 
dom; and what were the consequences? All faith 
in God or man, all grandeur of purpose, all nobility 
of thought, and all beauty of sentiment, withered and 
shrivelled up. Then the dexterous management of a 
few individuals, base or dull, was the only means of 
success. But we live in a different age: there are 
popular sympathies, however imperfect, to appeal to; 
we must recur to the high primeval practice, and ad- 
dress nations now as the heroes, and prophets, and 
legislators of antiquity. If you wish to free your 
country, and make the Syrians a nation, it is not to 
be done by sending secret envoys to Paris or Lon- 



TANCRED 117 

don, cities themselves which are perhaps both 
doomed to fall; you must act like Moses and Ma- 
homet.' 

'But you forget the religions,' said Fakredeen, 'I 
have so many religions to deal with. If my fellows 
were all Christians, or all Moslemin, or all Jews, or 
all Pagans, I grant you, something might be effected: 
the cross, the crescent, the ark, or an old stone, any- 
thing would do: 1 would plant it on the highest 
range in the centre of the country, and I would carry 
Damascus and Aleppo both in one campaign; but I 
am debarred from this immense support; I could 
only preach nationality, and, as they all hate each 
other worse almost than they do the Turks, that 
would not be very inviting; nationality, without race 
as a plea, is like the smoke of this nargileh, a fragrant 
puff. Well, then, there remains only personal influ- 
ence: ancient family, vast possessions, and traditionary 
power: mere personal influence can only be main- 
tained by management, by what you stigmatise as 
intrigue; and the most dexterous member of the 
Shehaab family will be, in the long run. Prince of 
Lebanon.' 

'And if you wish only to be Prince of Lebanon, 
1 dare say you may succeed,' said Tancred, 'and per- 
haps with much less pains than you at present give 
yourself. But what becomes of all your great plans 
of an hour ago, when you were to conquer the East, 
and establish the independence of the Oriental races.?' 

' Ah! ' exclaimed Fakredeen with a sigh, 'these are 
the only ideas for which it is worth while to live.' 

'The world was never conquered by intrigue: it 
was conquered by faith. Now, I do not see that you 
have faith in anything.' 



ii8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Faith,' said Fakredeen, musingly, as if his ear 
had caught the word for the first time, 'faith! that is 
a grand idea. If one could only have faith in some- 
thing and conquer the world!' 

'See now,' said Tancred, with unusual animation, 
' I find no charm in conquering the world to establish 
a dynasty: a dynasty, like everything else, wears out; 
indeed, it does not last as long as most things; it has 
a precipitate tendency to decay. There are reasons; 
we will not now dwell on them. One should con- 
quer the world not to enthrone a man, but an idea, 
for ideas exist for ever. But what idea? There is 
the touchstone of all philosophy! Amid the wreck of 
creeds, the crash of empires, French revolutions, Eng- 
lish reforms, Catholicism in agony, and Protestantism 
in convulsions, discordant Europe demands the key- 
note, which none can sound. If Asia be in decay, 
Europe is in confusion. Your repose may be death, 
but our life is anarchy.' 

'I am thinking,' said Fakredeen, thoughtfully, 'how 
we in Syria could possibly manage to have faith in 
anything; I had faith in Mehemet Ali, but he is a 
Turk, and that upset him. If, instead of being merely 
a rebellious Pasha, he had placed himself at the head 
of the Arabs, and revived the Caliphate, you would 
have seen something. Head the desert and you may 
do anything. But it is so difficult. If you can once 
get the tribes out of it, they will go anywhere. See 
what they did when they last came forth. It is a 
simoom, a kamsin, fatal, irresistible. They are as 
fresh, too, as ever. The Arabs are always young; it 
is the only race that never withers. I am an Arab 
myself; from my ancestor who was the standard- 
bearer of the Prophet, the consciousness of race is 



TANCRED 119 

the only circumstance that sometimes keeps up my 
spirit.' 

M am an Arab only in religion,' said Tancred, 
'but the consciousness of creed sustains me. I know 
well, though born in a distant and northern isle, that 
the Creator of the world speaks with man only in 
this land; and that is why I am here.' 

The young Emir threw an earnest glance at his 
companion, whose countenance, though grave, was 
calm. 'Then you have faith?' said Fakredeen, in- 
quiringly. 

'I have passive faith,' said Tancred. 'I know that 
there is a Deity who has revealed his will at inter- 
vals during different ages; but of his present purpose 
1 feel ignorant, and therefore I have not active faith; 
I know not what to do, and should be reduced to a 
mere spiritual slothfulness, had I not resolved to 
struggle with this fearful necessity, and so embarked 
in this great pilgrimage which has so strangely brought 
us together.' 

'But you have your sacred books to consult ?' said 
Fakredeen. 

'There were sacred books when Jehovah conferred 
with Solomon; there was a still greater number of 
sacred books when Jehovah inspired the prophets; 
the sacred writings were yet more voluminous when 
the Creator ordained that there should be for human 
edification a completely new series of inspired litera- 
ture. Nearly two thousand years have passed since 
the last of those works appeared. It is a greater in- 
terval than elapsed between the writings of Malachi 
and the writings of Matthew.' 

'The prior of the Maronite convent, at Mar Hanna, 
has often urged on me, as conclusive evidence of the 



I20 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

falseness of Mahomet's mission, that our Lord Jesus 
declared that after him "many false prophets should 
arise," and warned his followers.' 

'There spoke the Prince of Israel,' said Tancred, 
'not the universal Redeemer. He warned his tribe 
against the advent of false Messiahs, no more. Far 
from terminating by his coming the direct communi- 
cation between God and man, his appearance was 
only the herald of a relation between the Creator and 
his creatures more fine, more permanent, and more 
express. The inspiring and consoling influence of the 
Paraclete only commenced with the ascension of the 
Divine Son. In this fact, perhaps, may be found a 
sufficient reason why no written expression of the 
celestial will has subsequently appeared. But, instead 
of foreclosing my desire for express communication, it 
would, on the contrary, be a circumstance to author- 
ise it.' 

'Then how do you know that Mahomet was not 
inspired?' said Fakredeen. 

'Far be it from me to impugn the divine commis- 
sion of any of the seed of Abraham,' replied Tancred. 
'There are doctors of our church who recognise the 
sacred office of Mahomet, though they hold it to be, 
what divine commissions, with the great exception, 
have ever been, limited and local.' 

'God has never spoken to a European?' said Fak- 
redeen, inquiringly. 

'Never.' 

'But you are a European?' 

'And your inference is just,' said Tancred, in an 
agitated voice, and with a changing countenance. ' It 
is one that has for some time haunted my soul. In 
England, when I prayed in vain for enlightenment, I 



TANCRED 121 

at last induced myself to believe that the Supreme 
Being would not deign to reveal His will unless in 
the land which his presence had rendered holy; but 
since I have been a dweller within its borders, and 
poured forth my passionate prayers at all its holy 
places, and received no sign, the desolating thought 
has sometimes come over my spirit, that there is a 
qualification of blood as well as of locality necessary 
for this communion, and that the favoured votary 
must not only kneel in the Holy Land but be of the 
holy race.' 

'I am an Arab,' said Fakredeen. 'It is some- 
thing.' 

'If I were an Arab in race as well as in religion,' 
said Tancred, * I would not pass my life in schemes 
to govern some mountain tribes.' 

'I'll tell you,' said the Emir, springing from his 
divan, and flinging the tube of his nargileh to the 
other end of the tent: 'the game is in our 
hands, if we have energy. There is a combination 
which would entirely change the whole face of the 
world, and bring back empire to the East. Though 
you are not the brother of the Queen of the English, 
you are nevertheless a great English prince, and the 
Queen will listen to what you say; especially if you 
talk to her as you talk to me, and say such fine 
things in such a beautiful voice. Nobody ever opened 
my mind like you. You will magnetise the Queen 
as you have magnetised me. Go back to England 
and arrange this. You see, gloze it over as they 
may, one thing is clear, it is finished with England. 
There are three things which alone must destroy it. 
Primo, O'Connell appropriating to himself the revenues 
of half of Her Majesty's dominions. Secondo, the cot- 



122 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tons; the world begins to get a little disgusted with 
those cottons; naturally everybody prefers silk; 1 am 
sure that the Lebanon in time could supply the whole 
world with silk, if it were properly administered. 
Thirdly, steam; with this steam your great ships 
have become a respectable Noah's ark. The game is 
up; Louis Philippe can take Windsor Castle when- 
ever he pleases, as you took Acre, with the wind 
in his teeth. It is all over, then. Now, see a coup 
d'etat that saves all. You must perform the Portu- 
guese scheme on a great scale; quit a petty and ex- 
hausted position for a vast and prolific empire. Let 
the Queen of the English collect a great fleet, let her 
stow away all her treasure, bullion, gold plate, and 
precious arms; be accompanied by all her court and 
chief people, and transfer the seat of her empire from 
London to Delhi. There she will find an immense 
empire ready made, a firstrate army, and a large 
revenue. In the meantime I will arrange with Me- 
hemet Ali. He shall have Bagdad and Mesopotamia, 
and pour the Bedouin cavalry into Persia. I will 
take care of Syria and Asia Minor. The only way to 
manage the Afghans is by Persia and by the Arabs. 
We will acknowledge the Empress of India as our 
suzerain, and secure for her the Levantine coast. If 
she like, she shall have Alexandria as she now has 
Malta: it could be arranged. Your Queen is young; 
she has an avenir. Aberdeen and Sir Peel will never 
give her this advice; their habits are formed. They 
are too old, too ruses. But, you see! the greatest 
empire that ever existed; besides which she gets rid 
of the embarrassment of her Chambers! And quite 
practicable; for the only difficult part, the conquest of 
India, which baffled Alexander, is all done!' 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 




A Pilgrim to Mount Sinai. 

T WAS not so much a conviction 
as a suspicion that Tancred had 
conveyed to the young Emir, when 
the pilgrim had confessed that the 
depressing thought sometimes came 
over him, that he was deficient in 
that qualification of race which was necessary for the 
high communion to which he aspired. Four-and- 
twenty hours before he was not thus dejected. Almost 
within sight of Sinai, he was still full of faith. But 
his vexatious captivity, and the enfeebling conse- 
quences of this wound, dulled his spirit. Alone, 
among strangers and foes, in pain and in peril, and 
without that energy which finds excitement in diffi- 
culty, and can mock at danger, which requires no 
counsellor but our own quick brain, and no cham- 
pion but our own right arm, the high spirit of Tan- 
cred for the first time flagged. As the twilight 
descended over the rocky city, its sculptured tombs and 
excavated temples, and its strewn remains of palaces 
and theatres, his heart recurred with tenderness to 
the halls and towers of Montacute and Bellamont, and 
the beautiful affections beneath those stately roofs, 

(■=3) 



124 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

that, urged on, as he had once thought, by a divine 
influence, now, as he was half tempted to credit, by 
a fantastic impulse, he had dared to desert. Brood- 
ing in dejection, his eyes were suffused with tears. 

It v/as one of those moments of amiable weakness 
which make us aU akin, when sublime ambition, the 
mystical predispositions of genius, the solemn sense 
of duty, all the heaped-up lore of ages, and the dog- 
mas of a high philosophy alike desert us, or sink into 
nothingness. The voice of his mother sounded in his 
ear, and he was haunted by his father's anxious 
glance. Why was he there? Why was he, the 
child of a northern isle, in the heart of the Stony 
Arabia, far from the scene of his birth and of his du- 
ties ? A disheartening, an awful question, which, if 
it could not be satisfactorily answered by Tancred of 
Montacute, it seemed to him that his future, wher- 
ever or however passed, must be one of intolerable 
bale. 

Was he, then, a stranger there.? uncalled, unex- 
pected, intrusive, unwelcome? Was it a morbid cu- 
riosity, or the proverbial restlessness of a satiated 
aristocrat, that had drawn him to these wilds ? What 
wilds? Had he no connection with them? Had he 
not from his infancy repeated, in the congregation of 
his people, the laws which, from the awful summit 
of these surrounding mountains, the Father of all had 
Himself delivered for the government of mankind? 
These Arabian laws regulated his life. And the wan- 
derings of an Arabian tribe in this * great and terri- 
ble wilderness,' under the immediate direction of the 
Creator, sanctified by His miracles, governed by His 
counsels, illumined by His presence, had been the 
first and guiding history that had been entrusted to 



TANCRED 125 

his young intelligence, from which it had drawn its 
first pregnant examples of human conduct and divine 
interposition, and formed its first dim conceptions of 
the relations between man and God. Why, then, he 
had a right to be here! He had a connection with 
these regions; they had a hold upon him. He was 
not here like an Indian Brahmin, who visits Europe 
from a principle of curiosity, however rational or how- 
ever refined. The land which the Hindoo visits is 
not his land, nor his father's land; the laws which 
regulate it are not his laws, and the faith which fills 
its temples is not the revelation that floats upon his 
sacred Ganges. But for this English youth, words 
had been uttered and things done, more than thirty 
centuries ago, in this stony wilderness, which influ- 
enced his opinions and regulated his conduct every 
day of his life, in that distant and seagirt home, 
which, at the time of their occurrence, was not as 
advanced in civilisation as the Polynesian groups or 
the islands of New Zealand. The life and property of 
England are protected by the laws of Sinai. The 
hard-working people of England are secured in every 
seven days a day of rest by the laws of Sinai. And 
yet they persecute the Jews, and hold up to odium 
the race to whom they are indebted for the sublime 
legislation which alleviates the inevitable lot of the 
labouring multitude! 

And when that labouring multitude cease for a 
while from a toil which equals almost Egyptian bond- 
age, and demands that exponent of the mysteries of 
the heart, that soother of the troubled spirit, which 
poetry can alone afford, to whose harp do the people 
of England fly for sympathy and solace ? Who is 
the most popular poet in this country.? Is he to be 



126 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

found among the Mr, Wordsworths and the Lord By- 
rons, amid sauntering reveries or monologues of sub- 
lime satiety? Shall we seek him among the wits of 
Queen Anne ? Even to the myriad-minded Shakespeare 
can we award the palm? No; the most popular poet 
in England is the sweet singer of Israel. Since the 
days of the heritage, when every man dwelt safely 
under his vine and under his fig tree, there never was 
a race who sang so often the odes of David as the 
people of Great Britain. 

Vast as the obligations of the whole human family 
are to the Hebrew race, there is no portion of the 
modern population so much indebted to them as the 
British people. It was ' the sword of the Lord and 
of Gideon' that won the boasted liberties of England; 
chanting the same canticles that cheered the heart of 
Judah amid their glens, the Scotch, upon their hill- 
sides, achieved their religious freedom. 

Then why do these Saxon and Celtic societies 
persecute an Arabian race, from whom they have 
adopted laws of sublime benevolence, and in the 
pages of whose literature they have found perpetual 
delight, instruction, and consolation ? That is a great 
question, which, in an enlightened age, may be fairly 
asked, but to which even the self-complacent nine- 
teenth century would find some difficulty in contrib- 
uting a reply. Does it stand thus? Independently of 
their admirable laws which have elevated our condi- 
tion, and of their exquisite poetry which has charmed 
it; independently of their heroic history which has 
animated us to the pursuit of public liberty, we are 
indebted to the Hebrew people for our knowledge 
of the true God and for the redemption from our 



TANCRED 127 

'Then I have a right to be here,' said Tancred of 
Montacute, as his eyes were fixed in abstraction on 
the stars of Arabia; *! am not a travelling dilettante, 
mourning over a ruin, or in ecstasies at a deciphered 
inscription. I come to the land whose laws I obey, 
whose religion I profess, and I seek, upon its sacred 
soil, those sanctions which for ages were abundantly 
accorded. The angels who visited the Patriarchs, and 
announced the advent of the Judges, who guided the 
pens of Prophets and bore tidings to the Apostles, 
spoke also to the Shepherds in the field. I look upon 
the host of heaven; do they no longer stand before 
the Lord ? Where are the Cherubim, where the Ser- 
aphs? Where is Michael the Destroyer.? Gabriel of 
a thousand missions?' 

At this moment, the sound of horsemen recalled 
Tancred from his reverie, and, looking up, he ob- 
served a group of Arabs approaching him, three of 
whom were mounted. Soon he recognised the great 
Sheikh Amalek, and Hassan, the late commander of 
his escort. The young Syrian Emir was their com- 
panion. This was a visit of hospitable ceremony 
from the great Sheikh to his distinguished prisoner. 
Amalek, pressing his hand to his heart, gave Tancred 
the salute of peace, and then, followed by Hassan, 
who had lost nothing of his calm self-respect, but 
who conducted himself as if he were still free, the 
great Sheikh seated himself on the carpet that was 
spread before the tent, and took the pipe, which was 
immediately offered him by Freeman and Trueman, 
following the instructions of an attendant of the Emir 
Fakredeen. 

After the usual compliments and some customary 
observations about horses and pistols, Fakredeen, who 



128 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

had seated himself close to Tancred, with a kind of 
shrinking cajolery, as if he were seeking the protec- 
tion of some superior being, addressing Amalek in a 
tone of easy assurance, which remarkably contrasted 
with the sentimental deference he displayed towards 
his prisoner, said: 

'Sheikh of Sheikhs, there is but one God: now is 
it Allah, or Jehovah?' 

' The palm tree is sometimes called a date tree, 
replied Amalek, 'but there is only one tree.' 

'Good,' said Fakredeen, 'but you do not pray to 
Allah?' 

*I pray as my fathers prayed,' said Amalek. 

'And you pray to Jehovah?' 

' It is said.' 

'Sheikh Hassan,' said the Emir, 'there is but one 
God, and his name is Jehovah. Why do you not 
pray to Jehovah?' 

'Truly there is but one God,' said Sheikh Hassan, 
' and Mahomet is his Prophet. He told my fathers to 
pray to Allah, and to Allah I pray.' 

' Is Mahomet the prophet of God, Sheikh of 
Sheikhs?' 

'It may be,' replied Amalek, with a nod of assent. 

'Then why do you not pray as Sheikh Hassan?' 

* Because Moses, without doubt the prophet of 
God, — for all believe in him, Sheikh Hassan, and Emir 
Fakredeen, and you too, Prince, brother of queens, — 
married into our family and taught us to pray to Je- 
hovah. There may be other prophets, but the chil- 
dren of Jethro would indeed ride on asses were they 
not content with Moses.' 

'And you have his five books?' inquired Tan- 
cred. 



TANCRED 129 

'We had them from the beginning, and we shall 
keep them to the end.' 

* And you learnt in them that Moses married the 
daughter of Jethro?' 

* Did I learn in them that 1 have wells and camels ? 
We want no books to tell us who married our 
daughters.' 

' And yet it is not yesterday that Moses fled from 
Egypt into Midian.?' 

' It is not yesterday for those who live in cities, 
where they say at one gate that it is morning, and 
at another it is night. Where men tell lies, the 
deed of the dawn is the secret of sunset. But in 
the desert nothing changes; neither the acts of a 
man's life, nor the words of a man's lips. We drink 
at the same well where Moses helped Zipporah, we 
tend the same flocks, we live under the same tents; 
our words have changed as little as our waters, our 
habits, or our dwellings. What my father learnt from 
those before him, he delivered to me, and I have told 
it to my son. What is time and what is truth, that 
1 should forget that a prophet of Jehovah married into 
my house }' 

'Where little is done, little is said,' observed 
Sheikh Hassan, 'and silence is the mother of truth. 
Since the Hegira, nothing has happened in Arabia, 
and before that was Moses, and before him the 
giants.' 

'Let truth always be spoken,' said Amalek; 'your 
words are a flowing stream, and the children of 
Rechab and the tribes of the Senites never joined him 
of Mecca, for they had the five books, and they said, 
"Is not that enough?" They withdrew to the Syrian 
wilderness, and they multiplied. But the sons of 

16 B. D.— 9 



I30 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Koreidha, who also had the five books, but who 
were not children of Rechab, but who came into the 
desert near Medina after Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed 
EI Khuds, they first joined him of Mecca, and then 
they made war on him, and he broke their bows and 
led them into captivity; and they are to be found in 
the cities of Yemen to this day; the children of Israel 
who live in the cities of Yemen are the tribe of Ko- 
reidha.' 

'Unhappy sons of Koreidha, who made war upon 
the Prophet, and who live in cities!' said Sheikh 
Hassan, taking a fresh pipe. 

'And perhaps,' said the young Emir, 'if you had 
not been children of Jethro, you might have acknowl- 
edged him of Mecca, Sheikh of Sheikhs.' 

'There is but one God,' said Amalek; 'but there 
may be many prophets. It becomes not a son of 
Jethro to seek other than Moses. But I will not say 
that the Koran comes not from God, since it was writ- 
ten by one who was of the tribe of Koreish, and the 
tribe of Koreish are the lineal descendants of Ibrahim.' 

* And you believe that the Word of God could 
come only to the seed of Abraham?' asked Tancred, 
eagerly. 

'I and my fathers have watered our flocks in the 
wilderness since time was,' replied Amalek; 'we have 
seen the Pharaohs, and Nebuchadnezzar, and Iskander, 
and the Romans, and the Sultan of the Ftench: they 
conquered everything except us; and where are they .? 
They are sand. Let men doubt of unicorns: but of 
one thing there can be no doubt, that God never 
spoke except to an Arab.' 

Tancred covered his face with his hands. Then, 
after a few moments' pause, looking up, he said, 



TANCRED 131 

'Sheikh of Sheikhs, I am your prisoner; and was, 
when you captured me, a pilgrim to Mount Sinai, a 
spot which, in your behef, is not less sacred than in 
mine. We are, as 1 have learned, only two days' 
journey from that holy place. Grant me this boon, 
that I may at once proceed thither, guarded as you 
will. I pledge you the word of a Christian noble, 
that I will not attempt to escape. Long before you 
have received a reply from Jerusalem, I shall have re- 
turned; and whatever may be the result of the visit 
of Baroni, I shall, at least, have fulfilled my pil- 
grimage.' 

'Prince, brother of queens,' replied Amalek, with 
that politeness which is the characteristic of the Ara- 
bian chieftains; 'under my tents you have only to 
command; go where you like, return when you 
please. My children shall attend you as your guardians, 
not as your guards.' And the great Sheikh rose and 
retired. 

Tancred re-entered his tent, and, reclining, fell 
into a reverie of distracting thoughts. The history of 
his life and mind seemed with a whirling power to 
pass before him; his birth, in clime unknown to the 
Patriarchs; his education, unconsciously to himself, in 
an Arabian literature; his imbibing, from his tender 
infancy, oriental ideas and oriental creeds; the con- 
trast that the occidental society in which he had 
been reared presented to them; his dissatisfaction 
with that social system; his conviction of the grow- 
ing melancholy of enlightened Europe, veiled, as it 
may be, with sometimes a conceited bustle, some- 
times a desperate shipwreck gaiety, sometimes with 
all the exciting empiricism of science; his per- 
plexity that, between the Asian revelation and the 



132 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

European practice there should be so little conform- 
ity, and why the relations between them should be 
so limited and imperfect; above all, his passionate 
desire to penetrate the mystery of the elder world, 
and share its celestial privileges and divine preroga- 
tive. Tancred sighed. 

He looked round; some one had gently drawn his 
hand. It was the young Emir kneeling, his beautiful 
blue eyes bedewed with tears. 

'You are unhappy,' said Fakredeen, in a tone of 
plaintiveness. 

'It is the doom of man,' replied Tancred; 'and in 
my position sadness should not seem strange.' 

' The curse of ten thousand mothers on those who 
made you a prisoner; the curse of twenty thousand 
mothers on him who inflicted on you a wound!' 

"Tis the fortune of life,' said Tancred, more cheer- 
fully; 'and in truth I was perhaps thinking of other 
things.' 

' Do you know why 1 trouble you when your 
heart is dark?' said the young Emir. 'See now, if 
you will it, you are free. The great Sheikh has con- 
sented that you should go to Sinai. I have two 
dromedaries here, fleeter than the Kamsin. At the 
well of Mokatteb, where we encamp for the night, 1 
will serve raki to the Bedouins; 1 have some with 
me, strong enough to melt the snow of Lebanon; if 
it will not do, they shall smoke some timbak, that 
will make them sleep like pashas. 1 know this des- 
ert as a man knows his father's house; we shall be 
at Hebron before they untie their eyelids. Tell me, 
is it good?' 

'Were 1 alone,' said Tancred, 'without a single 
guard, 1 must return.' 



TANCRED 133 

'Why?' 

'Because I have pledged the word of a Christian 
noble.' 

'To a man who does not believe in Christ. 
Faugh! Is it not itself a sin to keep faith with here- 
tics ? ' 

'But is he one?' said Tancred. 'He believes in 
Moses; he disbelieves in none of the seed of Abraham, 
He is of that seed himself! Would I were such a 
heretic as Sheikh Amalek!' 

' If you will only pay me a visit in the Lebanon, 
I would introduce you to our patriarch, and he would 
talk as much theology with you as you like. For my 
own part it is not a kind of knowledge that I have 
much cultivated; you know I am peculiarly situated, 
we have so many religions on the mountain; but 
time presses; tell me, my prince, shall Hebron be our 
point?' 

' If Amalek believed in Baal, I must return,' said 
Tancred; 'even if it were to certain death. Besides, 
I could not desert my men; and Baroni, what would 
become of him ?' 

'We could easily make some plan that would ex- 
tricate them. Dismiss them from your mind, and 
trust yourself to me. I know nothing that would 
delight me more than to baulk these robbers of their 
prey.' 

'I should not talk of such things,' said Tancred; 
'I must remain here, or I must return.' 

'What can you want to do on Mount Sinai?' 
murmured the prince rather pettishly, ' Now if it 
were Mount Lebanon, and you had a wish to employ 
yourself, there is an immense field! We might im- 
prove the condition of the people; we might establish 



134 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



manufactures, stimulate agriculture, extend commerce, 
get an appalto of the silk, buy it all up at sixty 
piastres per oke, and sell it at Marseilles at two hun- 
dred, and at the same time advance the interests of 
true religion as much as you please.' 





CHAPTER XXXIV. 
In the Valley of the Shadow. 

EN days had elapsed since the cap- 
ture of Tancred; Amalek and his 
Arabs were still encamped in the 
rocky city; the beams of the early 
sun were just rising over the 
crest of the amphitheatre, when four 
horsemen, who were recognised as the children of 
Rechab, issued from the ravine. They galloped over 
the plain, shouted, and threw their lances in the air. 
From the crescent of black tents came forth the war- 
riors, some mounted their horses and met their re- 
turning brethren, others prepared their welcome. The 
horses neighed, the camels stirred their long necks. 
All living things seemed conscious that an event had 
occurred. 

The four horsemen were surrounded by their breth- 
ren; but one of them, giving and returning blessings, 
darted forward to the pavilion of the great Sheikh. 

' Have you brought camels, Shedad, son of Amroo.^' 
inquired one of the welcomers to the welcomed. 

'We have been to El Khuds,' was the reply. 
'What we have brought back is a seal of Solomon.' 
'From Mount Seir to the City of the Friend, what 
have you seen in the joyful land.?' 

(>35) 



136 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'We found the sons of Hamar by the well-side of 
Jumda; we found the marks of many camels in the 
pass of Gharendel, and the marks in the pass of 
Gharendel were not the marks of the camels of the 
Beni-Hamar.' 

'I had a dream, and the children of Tora said to 
me, "Who art thou in the hands of our father's flocks ? 
Are none but the sons of Rechab to drink the sweet 
waters of Edom?" Methinks the marks in the pass 
of Gharendel were the marks of the camels of the 
children of Tora.' 

'There is a feud between the Beni-Tora and the 
Beni-Hamar,' replied the other Arab, shaking his head. 
'The Beni-Tora are in the wilderness of Akiba, and 
the Beni-Hamar have burnt their tents and captured 
their camels and their women. This is why the 
sons of Hamar are watering their flocks by the well 
of Jumda.' 

In the meantime, the caravan, of which the four 
horsemen were the advanced guard, issued from the 
pass into the plain. 

'Shedad, son of Amroo,' exclaimed one of the Bed- 
ouins, 'what! have you captured an harem?' For 
he beheld dromedaries and veiled women. 

The great Sheikh came forth from his pavilion and 
sniffed the morning air; a dignified smile played over 
his benignant features, and once he smoothed his ven- 
erable beard. 

'My son-in-law is a true son of Israel,' he mur- 
mured complacently to himself. 'He will trust his 
gold only to his own blood.' 

The caravan wound about the plain, then crossed 
the stream at the accustomed ford, and approached 
the amphitheatre. 



TANCRED 137 

The horsemen halted, some dismounted, the drome- 
daries knelt down, Baroni assisted one of the riders 
from her seat; the great Sheikh advanced and said, 
'Welcome in the name of God! welcome with a 
thousand blessings!' 

'I come in the name of God; I come with a thou- 
sand blessings,' replied the lady. 

'And with a thousand something else,' thought 
Amalek to himself; but the Arabs are so pohshed 
that they never make unnecessary allusions to busi- 
ness. 

' Had 1 thought the Queen of Sheba was going to 
pay me a visit,' said the great Sheikh, 'I would have 
brought the pavilion of Miriam. How is the Rose of 
Sharon?' he continued, as he ushered Eva into his 
tent. 'How is the son of my heart; how is Besso, 
more generous than a thousand kings.?' 

'Speak not of the son of thy heart,' said Eva, seat- 
ing herself on the divan. 'Speak not of Besso, the 
generous and the good, for his head is strewn with 
ashes, and his mouth is full of sand.' 

'What is this?' thought Amalek. 'Besso is not 
ill, or his daughter would not be here. This arrow 
flies not straight. Does he want to scrape my pias- 
tres ? These sons of Israel that dwell in cities will 
mix their pens with our spears. I will be obstinate 
as an Azafeer camel.' 

Slaves now entered, bringing coffee and bread, the 
Sheikh asking questions as they ate, as to the time 
Eva quitted Jerusalem, her halting-places in the desert, 
whether she had met with any tribes; then he offered 
to his granddaughter his own chibouque, which she 
took with ceremony, and instantly returned, while 
they brought her aromatic nargileh. 



138 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Eva scanned the imperturbable countenance of her 
grandfather: calm, polite, benignant, she knew the 
great Sheikh too well to suppose for a moment that 
its superficial expression was any indication of his in- 
nermost purpose. Suddenly she said, in a somewhat 
careless tone, 'And why is the Lord of the Syrian 
pastures in this wilderness, that has been so long ac- 
cursed?' 

The great Sheikh took his pipe from his mouth, 
and then slowly sent forth its smoke through his nos- 
trils, a feat of which he was proud. Then he placidly 
replied: 'For the same reason that the man named 
Baroni made a visit to El Khuds.' 

'The man named Baroni came to demand succour 
for his lord, who is your prisoner.' 

'And also to obtain two millions of piastres,' 
added Amalek. 

'Two millions of piastres! Why not at once ask 
for the throne of Solomon.?' 

'Which would be given, if required,' rejoined 
Amalek. 'Was it not said in the divan of Besso, that 
if this Prince of Franguestan wished to rebuild the 
Temple, the treasure would not be wanting?' 

'Said by some city gossip,' said Eva, scornfully. 

'Said by your father, daughter of Besso, who, 
though he lives in cities, is not a man who will say 
that almonds are pearls.' 

Eva controlled her countenance, though it was dif- 
ficult to conceal her mortification as she perceived 
how well informed her grandfather was of all that 
passed under their roof, and of the resources of his 
prisoner. It was necessary, after the last remaik of 
the great Sheikh, to take new ground, and, instead 
of dwelling, as she was about to do, on the exag- 



TANCRED 139 

geration of public report, and attempting to ridicule 
the vast expectations of her host, she said, in a soft 
tone, ' You did not ask me why Besso was in such 
affliction, father of my mother?' 

'There are many sorrows: has he lost ships? If 
a man is in sound health, all the rest are dreams. 
And Besso needs no hakeem, or you would not be 
here, my Rose of Sharon.' 

'The light may have become darkness in our eyes, 
though we may still eat and drink,' said Eva. 'And 
that has happened to Besso which might have turned 
a child's hair grey in its cradle.' 

'Who has poisoned his well? Has he quarrelled 
with the Porte?' said the Sheikh, without looking at 
her. 

'It is not his enemies who have pierced him in 
the back.' 

'Humph,' said the great Sheikh. 

'And that makes his heart more heavy,' said Eva. 

'He dwells too much in walls,' said the great 
Sheikh. 'He should have ridden into the desert, in- 
stead of you, my child. He should have brought the 
ransom himself; ' and the great Sheikh sent two curl- 
ing streams out of his nostrils. 

'Whoever be the bearer, he is the payer,' said 
Eva. 'It is he who is the prisoner, not this son of 
Franguestan, who, you think, is your captive.' 

'Your father wishes to scrape my piastres,' said 
the great Sheikh, in a stern voice, and looking his 
granddaughter full in the face. 

'If he wanted to scrape piastres from the desert,' 
said Eva, in a sweet but mournful voice, 'would 
Besso have given you the convoy of the Had] with- 
out condition or abatement?' 



I40 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The great Sheikh drew a long breath from his chi- 
bouque. After a momentary pause, he said, ' In a 
family there should ever be unity and concord; above 
all things, words should not be dark. How much 
will the Queen of the English give for her brother.?' 

' He is not the brother of the Queen of the Eng- 
lish,' said Eva. 

'Not when he is my spoil, in my tent,' said Am- 
alek, with a cunning smile; 'but put him on a round 
hat in a walled city, and then he is the brother of 
the Queen of the English.' 

'Whatever his rank, he is the charge of Besso, 
my father and your son,' said Eva; 'and Besso has 
pledged his heart, his life, and his honour, that this 
young prince shall not be hurt. For him he feels, 
for him he speaks, for him he thinks. Is it to be 
told in the bazaars of Franguestan that his first office 
of devotion was to send this youth into the desert to 
be spoiled by the father of his wife?' 

'Why did my daughters marry men who live in 
cities?' exclaimed the old Sheikh. 

'Why did they marry men who made your peace 
with the Egyptian, when not even the desert could 
screen you? Why did they marry men who gained 
you the convoy of the Hadj, and gave you the milk 
often thousand camels?' 

'Truly, there is but one God in the desert and in 
the city,' said Amalek. 'Now, tell me, Rose of 
Sharon, how many piastres have you brought me?' 

'If you be in trouble, Besso will aid you as he 
has done; if you wish to buy camels, Besso will as- 
sist you as before; but if you expect ransom for his 
charge, whom you ought to have placed on your best 
mare of Nedgid, then I have not brought a para.' 



TANCRED 141 

'It is clearly the end of the world,' said Amalek, 
with a savage sigh. 

'Why I am here,' said Eva, 'I am only the child 
of your child, a woman without spears; why do you 
not seize me and send to Besso ? He must ransom 
me, for I am the only offspring of his loins. Ask for 
four millions of piastres! He can raise them. Let 
him send round to all the cities of Syria, and tell his 
brethren that a Bedouin Sheikh has made his daughter 
and her maidens captive, and, trust me, the treasure 
will be forthcoming. He need not say it is one on 
whom he has lavished a thousand favours, whose 
visage was darker than the simoom when he made 
the great Pasha smile on him; who, however he may 
talk of living in cities now, could come cringing to 
El Sham to ask for the contract of the Hadj, by 
which he had gained ten thousand camels; he need 
say nothing of all this, and, least of all, need he say 
that the spoiler is his father!* 

'What is this Prince of Franguestan to thee and 
thine?' said Amalek. 'He comes to our land like his 
brethren, to see the sun and seek for treasure in our 
ruins, and he bears, like all of them, some written 
words to your father, saying, "Give to this man what 
he asks, and we will give to your people what they 
ask." I understand all this: they all come to your 
father because he deals in money, and is the only 
man in Syria who has money. What he pays, he is 
again paid. Is it not so, Eva? Daughter of my 
blood, let there not be strife between us; give me a 
million piastres, and a hundred camels to the widow 
of Sheikh Salem, and take the brother of the Queen.' 

'Camels shall be given to the widow of Sheikh 
Salem,' said Eva, in a conciliatory voice; 'but for 



142 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

this ransom of which you speak, my father, it is not 
a question as to the number of piastres. If you want 
a million of piastres, shall it be said that Besso would 
not lend, perhaps give, them to the great Sheikh he 
loves? But, you see, my father of fathers, piastres 
and this Frank stranger are not of the same leaven. 
Name them not together, I pray you; mix not their 
waters. It concerns the honour, and welfare, and 
safety, and glory of Besso that you should cover this 
youth with a robe of power, and place him upon your 
best dromedary, and send him back to El Khuds.' 

The great Sheikh groaned. 

'Have I opened a gate that I am unable to close?' 
he at length said. 'What is begun shall be finished. 
Have the children of Rechab been brought from the 
sweet wells of Costal to this wilderness ever accursed 
to fill their purses with stones ? Will they not return 
and say that my beard is too white? Yet do I wish 
that this day was finished. Name then at once, my 
daughter, the piastres that you will give; for the 
prince, the brother of queens, may to-morrow be dust.' 

'How so?' eagerly inquired Eva. 

'He is a Mejnoun,' replied Amalek. 'After the 
man named Baroni departed for El Khuds, the Prince 
of Franguestan would not rest until he visited Gibel 
Mousa, and I said "Yes" to all his wishes. Whether 
it were his wound inflamed by his journey, or grief 
at his captivity, for these Franks are the slaves of 
useless sorrow, he returned as wild as Kais, and now 
lies in his tent, fancying he is still on Mount Sinai. 
'Tis the fifth day of the fever, and Shedad, the son 
of Amroo, tells me that the sixth will be fatal 
unless we can give him the gall of a phoenix, and 
such a bird is not to be found in this part of Arabia. 



TANCRED 



143 



Now, you are a great hakeem, my child of children; 
go then to the young prince, and see what can be 
done: for if he die, we can scarcely ransom him, and 
I shall lose the piastres, and your father the back- 
sheesh which I meant to have given him on the 
transaction.' 

'This is very woful,' murmured Eva to herself, 
and not listening to the latter observations of her 
grandfather. 

At this moment the curtain of the pavilion was 
withdrawn, and there stood before them Fakredeen. 
The moment his eyes met those of Eva, he covered 
his face with both his hands. 

'How is the Prince of Franguestan ? ' inquired 
Amalek. 

The young Emir advanced, and threw himself at 
the feet of Eva. ' We must entreat the Rose of Sharon 
to visit him,' he said, 'for there is no hakeem in 
Arabia equal to her. Yes, I came to welcome you, 
and to entreat you to do this kind office for the most 
gifted and the most interesting of beings; ' and he 
looked up in her face with a supplicating glance. 

'And you too, are you fearful,' said Eva, in atone 
of tender reproach, ' that by his death you may lose 
your portion of the spoil ? ' 

The Emir gave a deprecating glance of anguish, 
and then, bending his head, pressed his lips to the 
Bedouin robes which she wore. "Tis the most un- 
fortunate of coincidences, but believe me, dearest of 
friends, 'tis only a coincidence. I am here merely by 
accident; I was hunting, I was ' 

' You will make me doubt your intelligence as 
well as your good faith,' said Eva, 'if you persist in 
such assurances.' 



144 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Ah! if you but knew him,' exclaimed Fakredeen, 
'you would believe me when I tell you that 1 am 
ready to sacrifice even my life for his. Far from 
sharing the spoil,' he added, in a rapid and earnest 
whisper, * I had already proposed, and could have in- 
sured, his escape; when he went to Sinai, to that 
unfortunate Sinai. I had two dromedaries here, thor- 
oughbred; we might have reached Hebron before ' 

'You went with him to Sinai?' 

'He would not suffer it; he desired, he said, to be 
silent and to be alone. One of the Bedouins, who 
accompanied him, told me that they halted in the 
valley, and that he went up alone into the mountain, 
where he remained a day and night. When he re- 
turned hither, I perceived a great change in him. His 
words were quick, his eye glittered like fire; he told 
me that he had seen an angel, and in the morning 
he was as he is now. I have wept, 1 have prayed 
for him in the prayers of every religion, I have bathed 
his temples with liban, and hung his tent with 
charms. O Rose of Sharon! Eva, beloved, darling 
Eva, I have faith in no one but in you. See him, I 
beseech you, see him! If you but knew him, if you 
had but listened to his voice, and felt the greatness 
of his thoughts and spirit, it would not need that 
I should make this entreaty. But, alas! you know 
him not; you have never listened to him; you have 
never seen him; or neither he, nor I, nor any of us, 
would have been here, and have been thus.' 




CHAPTER XXXV. 




The New Crusader in Peril. 
JSJ 

OTWITHSTANDING all the pre- 
scient care of the Duke and Duchess 
of Beliamont, it was destined that 
the stout arm of Colonel Brace 
should not wave by the side of their 
son when he was first attacked by 
the enemy, and now that he was afflicted by a most 
severe if not fatal illness, the practised skill of the 
Doctor Roby was also absent. Fresh exemplification 
of what all of us so frequently experience, that the 
most sagacious and matured arrangements are of 
little avail; that no one is present when he is wanted, 
and that nothing occurs as it was foreseen. Nor 
should we forget that the principal cause of all these 
mischances might perhaps be recognised in the inef- 
ficiency of the third person whom the parents of 
Tancred had, with so much solicitude and at so great 
an expense, secured to him as a companion and 
counsellor in his travels. It cannot be denied that if 
the theological attainments of the Rev. Mr. Bernard 
had been of a more profound and comprehensive 
character, it is possible that Lord Montacute might 
not have deemed it necessary to embark upon 

i6 B. D.— lo ( 145) 



146 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

this new crusade, and ultimately to find himself in 
the deserts of Mount Sinai. However this may be, 
one thing was certain, that Tancred had been 
wounded without a single sabre of the Bellamont 
yeomanry being brandished in his defence; was now 
lying dangerously ill in an Arabian tent, without the 
slightest medical assistance; and perhaps was destined 
to quit this world, not only without the consolation 
of a priest of his holy Church, but surrounded by 
heretics and infidels. 

' We have never let any of the savages come near 
my lord,' said Freeman to Baroni, on his return, 

'Except the fair young gentleman.' added True- 
man, 'and he is a Christian, or as good.' 

'He is a prince,' said Freeman, reproachfully. 
'Have I not told you so twenty times? He is what 
they call in this country a Hameer, and lives in a 
castle, where he wanted my lord to visit him. I 
only wish he had gone with my lord to Mount Siny; 
I think it would have come to more good.' 

' He has been very attentive to my lord all the 
time,' said Trueman; 'indeed, he has never quitted 
my lord night or day; and only left his side when 
we heard the caravan had returned.' 

'I have seen him,' said Baroni; 'and now let us 
enter the tent.' 

Upon the divan, his head supported by many 
cushions, clad in a Syrian robe of the young Emir, 
and partly covered wifh a Bedouin cloak, lay Tan- 
cred, deadly pale, his eyes open and fixed, and ap- 
parently unconscious of their presence. He was lying 
on his back, gazing on the roof of the tent, and was 
motionless. Fakredeen had raised his wounded arm, 
which had fallen from the couch, and had supported 



TANCRED 147 

it with a pile made of cloaks and pillows. The coun- 
tenance of Tancred was much changed since Baroni 
last beheld him; it was greatly attenuated, but the 
eyes glittered with an unearthly fire. 

'We don't think he has ever slept,' said Freeman, 
in a whisper. 

' He did nothing but talk to himself the first two 
days,' said Trueman; 'but yesterday he has been 
more quiet.' 

Baroni advanced to the divan behind the head of 
Tancred, so that he might not be observed, and then, 
letting himself fall noiselessly on the carpet, he touched 
with a light finger the pulse of Lord Montacute. 

'There is not too much blood here,' he said, 
shaking his head. 

'You don't think it is hopeless?' said Freeman, 
beginning to blubber. 

'And all the great doings of my lord's coming of 
age to end in this!' said Trueman. 'They sat down 
only two less than a hundred at the steward's table 
for more than a week!' 

Baroni made a sign to them to leave the tent. 
'God of my fathers!' he said, still seated on the 
ground, his arms folded, and watching Tancred 
earnestly with his bright black eyes; 'this is a bad 
business. This is death or madness, perhaps both. 
What will M. de Sidonia say? He loves not men 
who fail. All will be visited on me. I shall be 
shelved. In Europe they would bleed him, and they 
would kill him; here they will not bleed him, and 
he may die. Such is medicine, and such is life! 
Now, if I only had as much opium as would fill the 
pipe of a mandarin, that would be something. God 
of my fathers! this is a bad business.' 



148 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

He rose softly; he approached nearer to Tancred, 
and examined his countenance more closely; there 
was a slight foam upon the lip, which he gently 
wiped away. 

' The brain has worked too much,' said Baroni to 
himself. ' Often have I watched him pacing the deck 
during our voyage; never have I witnessed an ab- 
straction so prolonged and so profound. He thinks as 
much as M. de Sidonia, and feels more. There is his 
weakness. The strength of my master is his su- 
periority to all sentiment. No affections and a great 
brain; these are the men to command the world. No 
affections and a little brain; such is the stuff of which 
they make petty villains. And a great brain and a 
great heart, what do they make.? Ah! I do not know. 
The last, perhaps, wears off with time; and yet I 
wish I could save this youth, for he ever attracts me 
to him.' 

Thus he remained for some time seated on the 
carpet by the side of the divan, revolving in his mind 
every possible expedient that might benefit Tancred, 
and finally being convinced that none was in his 
power. What roused him from his watchful reverie 
was a voice that called his name very softly, and, 
looking round, he beheld the Emir Fakredeen on tip- 
toe, with his finger on his mouth. Baroni rose, and 
Fakredeen inviting him with a gesture to leave the 
tent, he found without the lady of the caravan. 

*I want the Rose of Sharon to see your lord,' said 
the young Emir, very anxiously, 'for she is a great 
hakeem among our people.' 

' Perhaps in the desert, where there is none to be 
useful, I might not be useless,' said Eva, with some 
reluctance and reserve. 



TANCRED 149 

'Hope has only one arrow left,' said Baroni, mourn- 
fully. 

' Is it indeed so bad ?' 

'Oh! save him, Eva, save him!' exclaimed Fakre- 
deen, distractedly. 

She placed her finger on her lip. 

'Or I shall die,' continued Fakredeen; ' nor indeed 
have I any wish to live, if he depart from us.' 

Eva conversed apart for a few minutes with Baroni, 
in a low voice, and then drawing aside the curtain of 
the tent, they entered. 

There was no change in the appearance of Tan- 
cred, but as they approached him he spoke. Baroni 
dropped into his former position, Fakredeen fell upon 
his knees, Eva alone was visible when the eyes of 
Tancred met hers. His vision was not unconscious 
of her presence; he stared at her with intentness. 
The change in her dress, however, would, in all 
probability, have prevented his recognising her even 
under indifferent circumstances. She was habited as 
a Bedouin girl; a leathern girdle encircled her blue 
robe, a few gold coins were braided in her hair, and 
her head was covered with a fringed kefia. 

Whatever was the impression made upon Tancred 
by this unusual apparition, it appeared to be only 
transient. His glance withdrawn, his voice again 
broke into incoherent but violent exclamations. Sud- 
denly he said, with more moderation, but with firm- 
ness and distinctness, 'I am guarded by angels.' 

Fakredeen shot a glance at Eva and Baroni, as if 
to remind them of the tenor of the discourse for 
which he had prepared them. 

After a pause he became somewhat violent, and 
seemed as if he would have waved his wounded arm: 



I50 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

but Baroni, whose eye, though himself unobserved, 
never quitted his charge, laid his finger upon the arm, 
and Tancred did not struggle. Again he spoke of 
angels, but in a milder and mournful tone. 

' Methinks you look like one,' thought Eva, as she 
beheld his spiritual countenance lit up by a super- 
human fire. 

■ After a fev/ minutes, she glanced at Baroni, to 
signify her wish to leave the tent, and he rose and 
accompanied her. Fakredeen also rose, with stream- 
ing eyes, and making the sign of the cross. 

'Forgive me,' he said to Eva, 'but I cannot help 
it. Whenever I am in affliction I cannot help remem- 
bering that I am a Christian.' 

'1 wish you would remember it at all times,' 
said Eva, 'and then, perhaps, none of us need have 
been here;' and then not waiting for his reply, she 
addressed herself to Baroni. '1 agree with you,' she 
said. ' If we cannot give him sleep, he will soon 
sleep for ever.' 

'Oh, give him sleep, Eva,' said Fakredeen, wring- 
ing his hands; 'you can do anything.' 

'I suppose,' said Baroni, 'it is hopeless to think 
of finding any opium here.' 

'Utterly,' said Eva; 'its practice is quite unknown 
among them.' 

'Send for some from El Khuds,' said Fakredeen. 

'Idle!' said Baroni; 'this is an affair of hours, not 
of days.' 

'Oh, but I will go,' exclaimed Fakredeen; 'you 
do not know what I can do on one of my drome- 
daries! 1 will ' 

Eva placed her hand on his arm without looking 
at him, and then continued to address Baroni. 



TANCRED 151 

'Through the pass I several times observed a small 
white and yellow flower in patches. I lost it as we 
advanced, and yet I should think it must have followed 
the stream. If it be, as 1 think, but 1 did not observe 
it with much attention, the flower of the mountain 
arnica, I know a preparation from that shrub which 
has a marvellous action on the nervous system.' 

'1 am sure it is the mountain arnica, and I am 
sure it will cure him,' said Fakredeen. 

'Time presses,' said Eva to Baroni. 'Call my 
maidens to our aid; and first of all let us examine 
the borders of the stream.' 

While his friends departed to exert themselves, 
Fakredeen remained behind, and passed his time 
partly in watching Tancred, partly in weeping, and 
partly in calculating the amount of his debts. This 
latter was a frequent, and to him inexhaustible, source 
of interest and excitement. His creative brain was 
soon lost in reverie. He conjured up Tancred re- 
stored to health, a devoted friendship between them, 
immense plans, not inferior achievements, and inex- 
haustible resources. Then, when he remembered 
that he was himself the cause of the peril of that 
precious life on which all his future happiness and 
success were to depend, he cursed himself. Involved 
as were the circumstances in which he habitually 
found himself entangled, the present complication was 
certainly not inferior to any of the perplexities which 
he had hitherto experienced. 

He was to become the bosom friend of a being 
whom he had successfully plotted to make a prisoner 
and plunder, and whose life was consequently en- 
dangered; he had to prevail on Amalek to relinquish 
the ransom which had induced the great Sheikh to 



152 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

quit his Syrian pastures, and had cost the lives of 
some of his most valuable followers; while, on the 
other hand, the new moon was rapidly approaching, 
when the young Emir had appointed to meet Scheriff 
Effendi at Gaza, to receive the arms and munitions 
which were to raise him to empire, and for which he 
had purposed to pay by a portion of his share in the 
great plunder which he had himself projected. His 
baffled brain whirled with wild and impracticable 
combinations, till, at length, frightened and exhausted, 
he called for his nargileh, and sought, as was his cus- 
tom, serenity from its magic tube. In this wise 
more than three hours had elapsed, the young Emir 
was himself again, and was calculating the average 
of the various rates of interest in every town in 
Syria, from Gaza to Aleppo, when Baroni returned, 
bearing in his hand an Egyptian vase. 

'You have found the magic flowers?' asked Fak- 
redeen, eagerly. 

'The flowers of arnica, noble Emir, of which the 
Lady Eva spoke. 1 wish the potion had been made 
in the new moon; however, it has been blessed. 
Two things alone now are wanting, that my lord 
should drink it, and that it should cure him.' 

It was not yet noon when Tancred quaffed the 
potion. He took it without difficulty, though appar- 
ently unconscious of the act. As the sun reached its 
meridian height, Tancred sank into a profound slum- 
ber. Fakredeen rushed away to tell Eva, who had now 
retired into the innermost apartments of the pavilion 
of Amaiek; Baroni never quitted the tent of his lord. 

The sun set; the same beautiful rosy tint suffused 
the tombs and temples of the city as on the evening 
of their first forced arrival: still Tancred slept. The 



TANCRED 153 

camels returned from the river, the lights began to 
sparkle in the circle of black tents: still Tancred slept. 
He slept during the day, and he slept during the twi- 
light, and, when the night came, still Tancred slept. 
The silver lamp, fed by the oil of the palm tree, threw 
its delicate white light over the couch on which he 
rested. Mute, but ever vigilant, Fakredeen and Baroni 
gazed on their friend and master: still Tancred slept. 

It seemed a night that would never end, and, 
when the first beam of the morning came, the Emir 
and his companion mutually recognised on their re- 
spective countenances an expression of distrust, even 
of terror. Still Tancred slept; in the same posture 
and with the same expression, unmoved and pale. 
Was it, indeed, sleep? Baroni touched his wrist, but 
could find no pulse; Fakredeen held his bright dagger 
over the mouth, yet its brilliancy was not for a mo- 
ment clouded. But he was not cold. 

The brow of Baroni was knit with deep thought, 
and his searching eye fixed upon the recumbent form; 
Fakredeen, frightened, ran away to Eva. 

'I am frightened, because you are frightened,' said 
Fakredeen, * whom nothing ever alarms. O Rose of 
Sharon! why are you so pale?' 

'It is a stain upon our tents if this youth be lost,' 
said Eva in a low voice, yet attempting to speak with 
calmness. 

'But what is it on me!' exclaimed Fakredeen, dis- 
tractedly. 'A stain! I shall be branded like Cain. 
No, I will never enter Damascus again, or any of the 
cities of the coast. I will give up all my castles to 
my cousin Francis El Kazin, on condition that he does 
not pay my creditors. I will retire to Mar Hanna. I 
will look upon man no more.' 



154 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Be calm, my Fakredeen; there is yet hope; my 
responsibility at this moment is surely not lighter than 
yours. ' 

*Ah! you did not know him, Eva!' exclaimed 
Fakredeen, passionately; 'you never listened to himl 
He cannot be to you what he is to me. I loved 
him!' 

She pressed her finger to her lips, for they had ar- 
rived at the tent of Tancred. The young Emir, drying 
his streaming eyes, entered first, and then came back 
and ushered in Eva. They stood together by the 
couch of Tancred. The expression of distress, of 
suffering, of extreme tension, which had not marred, 
but which, at least, had mingled with the spiritual 
character of his countenance the previous day, had 
disappeared. If it were death, it was at least beauti- 
ful. Softness and repose suffused his features, and 
his brow looked as if it had been the temple of an 
immortal spirit. 

Eva gazed upon the form with a fond, deep melan- 
choly; Fakredeen and Baroni exchanged glances. Sud- 
denly Tancred moved, heaved a deep sigh, and opened 
his dark eyes. The unnatural fire which had yester- 
day lit them up had fled. Calmly and thoughtfully 
he surveyed those around him, and then he said, 'The 
Lady of Bethany 1' 




CHAPTER XXXVI 




The Angel's Message. 

.® 

ETWEEN the Egyptian and the Ara- 
bian deserts, formed by two gulfs 
of the Erythraean Sea, is a pen- 
insula of granite mountains. It 
seems as if an ocean of lava, when 
its waves were literally running 
mountains high, had been suddenly commanded to 
stand still. These successive summits, with their 
peaks and pinnacles, enclose a series of valleys, in 
general stern and savage, yet some of which are not 
devoid of pastoral beauty. There may be found brooks 
of silver brightness, a-nd occasionally groves of palms 
and gardens of dates, while the neighbouring heights 
command sublime landscapes, the opposing mountains 
of Asia and Afric, and the blue bosom of two seas. 
On one of these elevations, more than five thousand 
feet above the ocean, is a convent; again, nearly three 
thousand feet above this convent, is a towering peak, 
and this is Mount Sinai. 

On the top of Mount Sinai are two ruins, a Chris- 
tian church and a Mahometan mosque. In this, the 
sublimest scene of Arabian glory, Israel and Ishmael 
alike raised their altars to the great God of Abraham. 

(155) 



156 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Why are they in ruins? Is it that human structures 
are not to be endured amid the awful temples of na- 
ture and revelation; and that the column and the cu- 
pola crumble into nothingness in sight of the hallowed 
Horeb and on the soil of the eternal Sinai ? 

Ascending the mountain, about half way between 
the convent and the utmost height of the towering 
peak, is a small plain surrounded by rocks. In its 
centre are a cypress tree and a fountain. This is the 
traditional scene of the greatest event of time. 

'Tis night; a solitary pilgrim, long kneeling on the 
sacred soil, slowly raises his agitated glance to the 
starry vault of Araby, and, clasping his hands in 
the anguish of devotion, thus prays: — 

'O Lord God of Israel, Creator of the Universe, 
ineffable Jehovah! a child of Christendom, I come to 
thine ancient Arabian altars to pour forth the heart of 
tortured Europe. Why art thou silent? Why no 
longer do the messages of thy renovating will de- 
scend on earth? Faith fades and duty dies. A pro- 
found melancholy has fallen on the spirit of man. 
The priest doubts, the monarch cannot rule, the mul- 
titude moans and toils, and calls in its frenzy upon 
unknown gods. If this transfigured mount may not 
again behold Thee; if not again, upon thy sacred Syr- 
ian plains. Divinity may teach and solace men; if 
prophets may not rise again to herald hope; at least, 
of all the starry messengers that guard thy throne, 
let one appear, to save thy creatures from a terrible 
despair!' 

A dimness suffused the stars of Arabia; the sur- 
rounding heights, that had risen sharp and black in 
the clear purple air, blended in shadowy and fleeting 
masses, the huge branches of the cypress tree seemed 



AFTER AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY HERMAN ROUNTREE. 



/ill J there appeared to him a form. 

(See page 157.) 



TANCRED 



157 



to stir, and the kneeling pilgrim sank upon the earth 
senseless and in a trance. 

And there appeared to him a form; a shape that 
should be human, but vast as the surrounding hills. 
Yet such was the symmetry of the vision that the 
visionary felt his littleness rather than the colossal 
proportions of the apparition. It was the semblance 
of one who, though not young, was still untouched 
by time; a countenance like an oriental night, dark 
yet lustrous, mystical yet clear. Thought, rather than 
melancholy, spoke from the pensive passion of his 
eyes, while on his lofty forehead glittered a star that 
threw a solemn radiance on the repose of his majes- 
tic features. 

'Child of Christendom,' said the mighty form, as 
he seemed slowly to wave a sceptre fashioned like a 
palm tree, 'I am the angel of Arabia, the guardian 
spirit of that land which governs the world; for 
power is neither the sword nor the shield, for these 
pass away, but ideas, which are divine. The thoughts 
of all lands come from a higher source than man, 
but the intellect of Arabia comes from the Most High. 
Therefore it is that from this spot issue the principles 
which regulate the human destiny. 

'That Christendom which thou hast quitted, and 
over whose expiring attributes thou art a mourner, 
was a savage forest while the cedars of Lebanon, for 
countless ages, had built the palaces of mighty kings. 
Yet in that forest brooded infinite races that were to 
spread over the globe, and give a new impulse to its 
ancient life. It was decreed that, when they burst 
from their wild woods, the Arabian principles should 
meet them on the threshold of the old world to guide 
and to civilise them. All had been prepared. The 



158 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Caesars had conquered the world to place the Laws 
of Sinai on the throne of the Capitol, and a Galilean 
Arab advanced and traced on the front of the rude 
conquerors of the Caesars the subduing symbol of the 
last development of Arabian principles. 

'Yet again, and Europe is in the throes of a great 
birth. The multitudes again are brooding; but they 
are not now in the forest; they are in the cities and 
in the fertile plains. Since the first sun of this century 
rose, the intellectual colony of Arabia, once called 
Christendom, has been in a state of partial and blind 
revolt. Discontented, they attributed their suffering 
to the principles to which they owed all their happi- 
ness, and in receding from which they had become 
proportionately miserable. They have hankered after 
other gods than the God of Sinai and of Calvary, and 
they have achieved only desolation. Now they de- 
spair. But the eternal principles that controlled 
barbarian vigour can alone cope with morbid civilisa- 
tion. The equality of man can only be accom- 
plished by the sovereignty of God. The longing 
for fraternity can never be satisfied but under the 
sway of a common father. The relations between 
Jehovah and his creatures can be neither too numer- 
ous nor too near. In the increased distance between 
God and man have grown up all those developments 
that have made life mournful. Cease, then, to seek 
in a vain philosophy the solution of the social problem 
that perplexes you. Announce the sublime and sola- 
cing doctrine of theocratic equality. Fear not, faint 
not, falter not. Obey the impulse of thine own spirit, 
and find a ready instrument in every human being.' 

A sound, as of thunder, roused Tancred from his 
trance. He looked around and above. There rose 



TANCRED 



59 



the mountains sharp and black in the dear purple air; 
there shone, with undimmed lustre, the Arabian stars; 
but the voice of the angel still lingered in his ear. 
He descended the mountain: at its base, near the 
convent, were his slumbering guards, some steeds, 
and crouching camels. 





CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Fakredeen is Curious. 

I HE beautiful daughter of Besso, pen- 
sive and abstracted, played with 
her beads in the pavilion of her 
grandfather. Two of her maidens, 
who had attended her, in a corner 
of this inner compartment, accom- 
panied the wild murmur of their voices on a stringed 
instrument, which might in the old days have been a 
psaltery. They sang the loves of Antar and of Ibia, 
of Leila and of Mejnoun; the romance of the desert, 
tales of passion and of plunder, of the rescue of 
women and the capture of camels, of heroes with a 
lion heart, and heroines brighter and softer than the 
moon. 

The beautiful daughter of Besso, pensive and ab- 
stracted, played with her beads in the pavilion of her 
grandfather. Why is the beautiful daughter of Besso 
pensive and abstracted ? What thoughts are flitting 
over her mind, silent and soft, like the shadows of 
birds over the sunshiny earth? 

Something that was neither silent nor soft dis- 
turbed the lady from her reverie; the voice of the 
great Sheikh, in a tone of altitude and harshness, with 

(i6o) 



TANCRED i6i 

him most usual. He was in an adjacent apartment, 
vowing that he would sooner eat the mother of some 
third person, who was attempting to influence him, 
than adopt the suggestion offered. Then there were 
softer and more persuasive tones from his companion, 
but evidently ineffectual. Then the voices of both 
rose together in emulous clamour — one roaring like a 
bull, the other shrieking like some wild bird; one full 
of menace, and the other taunting and impertinent. 
All this was followed by a dead silence, which con- 
tinuing, Eva assumed that the Sheikh and his com- 
panion had quitted his tent. While her mind was 
recurring to those thoughts which occupied them 
previously to this outbreak, the voice of Fakredeen 
was heard outside her tent, saying, ' Rose of Sharon, 
let me come into the harem;' and, scarcely waiting 
for permission, the young Emir, flushed and excited, 
entered, and almost breathless threw himself on the 
divan. 

'Who says I am a coward.^' he exclaimed, with 
a glance of devilish mockery. ' I may run away 
sometimes, but what of that ? I have got moral 
courage, the only thing worth having since the in- 
vention of gunpowder. The beast is not killed, but 
I have looked into the den; 'tis something. Courage, 
my fragrant Rose, have faith in me at last. 1 may 
make an imbroglio sometimes, but, for getting out of 
a scrape, I would back myself against any picaroon in 
the Levant; and that is saying a good deal.' 

'Another imbroglio?' 

'Oh, no! the same; part of the great blunder. 
You must have heard us raging like a thousand 
Afrites. I never knew the great Sheikh so wild.' 

'And why?' 



i62 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'He should take a lesson from Mehemet Ali,' con- 
tinued the Emir. 'Giving up Syria, after the con- 
quest, was a much greater sacrifice than giving up 
plunder which he has not yet touched. And the 
great Pasha did it as quietly as if he were marching 
into Stambovil instead, which he might have done if 
he had been an Arab instead of a Turk. Everything 
comes from Arabia, my dear Eva, at least everything 
that is worth anything. We two ought to thank our 
stars every day that we were born Arabs.' 

' And the great Sheikh still harps upon this ran- 
som .?' inquired Eva. 

' He does, and most unreasonably. For, after all, 
what do we ask him to give up? a bagatelle.' 

'Hardly that,' said Eva; 'two millions of piastres 
can scarcely be called a bagatelle.' 

'It is not two millions of piastres,' said Fakre- 
deen; 'there is your fallacy, 'tis the same as your 
grandfather's. In the first place, he would have taken 
one million; then half belonged to me, which reduces 
his share to five hundred thousand; then 1 meant to 
have borrowed his share of him.' 

'Borrowed his share!' said Eva. 

'Of course I should have allowed him interest, 
good interest. What could the great Sheikh want 
five hundred thousand piastres for? He has camels 
enough; he has so many horses that he wants to 
change some with me for arms at this moment. Is 
he to dig a hole in the sand by a well-side to put 
his treasure in, like the treasure of Solomon; or to 
sew up his bills of exchange in his turban ? The 
thing is ridiculous. I never contemplated, for a mo- 
ment, that the great Sheikh should take any hard 
piastres out of circulation, to lock them up in the 



TANCRED 163 

wilderness. It might disturb the currency of all Syria, 
upset the exchanges, and very much injure your 
family, Eva, of whose interests I am never unmind- 
ful. I meant the great Sheikh to invest his capital; 
he might have made a good thing of it. I could 
have afforded to pay him thirty per cent, for his 
share, and made as much by the transaction myself; 
for you see, as I am paying sixty per cent, at Bei- 
root, Tripoli, Latakia, and every accursed town of 
the coast at this moment. The thing is clear; and I 
wish you would only get your father to view it in 
the same light, and we might do immense things! 
Think of this, my Rose of Sharon, dear, dear Eva, 
think of this; your father might make his fortune and 
mine too, if he would only lend me money at thirty 
per cent.' 

* You frighten me always, Fakredeen, by these al- 
lusions to your affairs. Can it be possible that they 
are so very bad ! ' 

' Good, Eva, you mean good. I should be incapa- 
ble of anything, if it were not for my debts. I am 
naturally so indolent, that if 1 did not remember in 
the morning that 1 was ruined, I should never be 
able to distinguish myself.' 

'You never will distinguish yourself,' said Eva; 
'you never can, with these dreadful embarrassments.' 

' Shall 1 not ? ' said Fakredeen, triumphantly. 
' What are my debts to my resources ? That is the 
point. You cannot judge of a man by only knowing 
what his debts are; you must be acquainted with his 
resources.' 

' But your estates are mortgaged, your crops sold, 
at least you tell me so,' said Eva, mournfully. 

' Estates 1 crops! A man may have an idea worth 



i64 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

twenty estates, a principle of action that will bring 
him in a greater harvest than all Lebanon.' 

'A principle of action is indeed precious,' said 
Eva; 'but although you certainly have ideas, and 
very ingenious ones, a principle of action is exactly 
the thing which I have always thought you wanted.' 

'Well, I have got it at last,' said Fakredeen; 
'everything comes if a man will only wait.' 

'And what is your principle of action?' 

'Faith.' 

' In yourself.? Surely in that respect you have not 
hitherto been sceptical?' 

'No; in Mount Sinai.' 

'In Mount Sinai!' 

'You may well be astonished; but so it is. The 
English prince has been to Mount Sinai, and he has 
seen an angel. What passed between them I do not 
yet know; but one thing is certain, he is quite 
changed by the interview. He is all for action: so 
far as I can form an opinion in the present crude 
state of affairs, it is not at all impossible that he may 
put himself at the head of the Asian movement. If 
you have faith, there is nothing you may not do. 
One thing is quite settled, that he will not at present 
return to Jerusalem, but, for change of air and other 
reasons, make a visit with me to Canobia.' 

'He seems to have great purpose in him,' said 
Eva, with an air of some constraint. 

' By-the-bye,' said Fakredeen, 'how came you, 
Eva, never to tell me that you were acquainted with 
him?' 

'Acquainted with him?' said Eva. 

'Yes; he recognised you immediately when he re- 
covered himself, and he has admitted to me since 



TANCRED 165 

that he has seen you before, though I could not get 
much out of him about it. He will talk for ever about 
Arabia, faith, war, and angels; but, if you touch on 
anything personal, I observe he is always very shy. 
He has not my fatal frankness. Did you know him 
at Jerusalem ? ' 

'1 met him by hazard for a moment at Bethany. 
I neither asked then, nor did he impart to me, his 
name. How then could 1 tell you we were acquainted? 
or be aware that the stranger of my casual interview 
was this young Englishman whom you have made a 
captive ? ' 

'Hush!' said Fakredeen, with an air of real or 
affected alarm. ' He is going to be my guest at my 
principal castle. What do you mean by captive ? 
You mean whom I have saved from captivity, or am 
about to save ? 

' Well, that would appear to be the real question 
to which you ought to address yourself at this mo- 
ment,' said Eva. 'Were I you, I should postpone the 
great Asian movement until you had disembarrassed 
yourself from your present position, rather an equivocal 
one both for a patriot and a friend.' 

'Oh! I'll manage the great Sheikh,' said Fakredeen, 
carelessly. 'There is too much plunder in the future 
for Amalek to quarrel with me. When he scents the 
possibility of the Bedouin cavalry being poured into 
Syria and Asia Minor, we shall find him more man- 
ageable. The only thing now is to heal the present 
disappointment by extenuating circumstances. If I 
could screw up a few thousand piastres for back- 
sheesh,' and he looked Eva in the face, 'or could put 
anything in his way! What do you think, Eva.?' 

Eva shook her head. 



i66 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'What an obstinate Jew dog he is!' said Fakre- 
deen. 'His rapacity is revolting!' 

'An obstinate Jew dog!' exclaimed Eva, rising, 
her eyes flashing, her nostrils dilating with contemp- 
tuous rage. The manner of Fakredeen had not pleased 
her this morning. His temper was very uncertain, 
and, when crossed, he was deficient in delicacy. In- 
deed, he was too selfish, with all his sensibility and 
refined breeding, to be ever sufficiently considerate of 
the feelings of others. He was piqued also that he 
had not been informed of the previous acquaintance 
of Eva and Tancred. Her reason for not apprising 
him of their interview at Bethany, though not easily 
impugnable, was not as satisfactory to his under- 
standing as to his ear. Again, his mind and heart 
were so absorbed at this moment by the image of 
Tancred, and he was so entirely under the influence 
of his own ideaHsed conceptions of his new and latest 
friend, that, according to his custom, no other being 
could interest him. Although he was himself the sole 
cause of all the difficult and annoying circumstances 
in which he found himself involved, the moment that 
his passions and his interests alike required that Tan- 
cred should be free and uninjured, he acted, and in- 
deed felt, as if Amalek alone were responsible for the 
capture and the detention of Lord Montacute. 

The young Emir indeed was, at this moment, in 
one of those moods which had often marred his 
popularity, but in which he had never indulged 
towards Eva before. She had, throughout his life, 
been the commanding influence of his being. He 
adored and feared her, and knew that she loved, and 
rather despised him. But Eva had ceased to be the 
commanding influence over Fakredeen. At this mo- 



TANCRED 167 

ment Fakredeen would have sacrificed the whole 
family of Besso to secure the devotion of Tancred; 
and the coarse and rude exclamation to which he had 
given vent, indicated the current of his feelings and 
the general tenor of his mind. 

Eva knew him by heart. Her clear sagacious in- 
tellect, acting upon an individual whom sympathy and 
circumstances had combined to make her compre- 
hend, analysed with marvellous facility his compli- 
cated motives, and in general successfully penetrated 
his sovereign design. 

'An obstinate Jew dog!' she exclaimed; 'and who 
art thou, thou jackal of this lion! who should dare to 
speak thus ? Is it not enough that you have involved 
us all in unspeakable difficulty and possible disgrace, 
that we are to receive words of contumely from lips 
like yours ? One would think that you were the 
English Consul arrived here to make a representation 
in favour of his countryman, instead of being the in- 
dividual who planned his plunder, occasioned his 
captivity, and endangered his life! It is a pity that 
this young noble is not acquainted with your claims 
to his confidence.' 

The possibility that in a moment of irritation Eva 
might reveal his secret, some rising remorse at what 
he had said, and the superstitious reverence with which 
he still clung to her, all acting upon Fakredeen at the 
same time, he felt that he had gone too far, and there- 
upon he sprang from the divan, on which he had been 
insolently lolling, and threw himself at the feet of his 
foster-sister, whimpering and kissing her slippers, and 
calling her, between his sobs, a thousand fond names. 

'I am a villain,' he said, 'but you know it; you 
have always known it. For God's sake, stand by me 



i68 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

now; 'tis my only chance. You are the only being 
1 love in the world, except your family. You know 
how I respect them. Is not Besso my father? And 
the great Sheikh, I honour the great Sheikh. He is 
one of my allies. Even this accursed business proves 
it. Besides, what do you mean, by words of con- 
tumely from my lips ? Am I not a Jew myself, or as 
good ? Why should I insult them ? I only wish we 
were in the Land of Promise, instead of this infernal 
wilderness.' 

'Well, well, let us consult together,' said Eva, 
'reproaches are barren.' 

'Ah! Eva,' said Fakredeen, M am not reproaching 
you; but if, the evening I was at Bethany, you had 
only told me that you had just parted with this Eng- 
lishman, all this would not have occurred.' 

' How do you know that I had then just parted 
with this Englishman.?' said Eva, colouring and con- 
fused. 

'Because I marked him on the road. I little 
thought then that he had been in your retreat. I 
took him for some Frank, looking after the tomb of 
Lazarus.' 

'I found him in my garden,' said Eva, not entirely 
at her ease, 'and sent my attendants to him.' 

Fakredeen was walking up and down the tent, and 
seemed lost in thought. Suddenly he stopped and 
said, 'I see it all; I have a combination that will put 
all right.' 

' Put all right ? ' 

' See, the day after to-morrow I have appointed 
to meet a friend of mine at Gaza, who has a caravan 
that wants convoy through the desert to the moun- 
tain. The Sheikh of Sheikhs shall have it. It will be 



TANCRED 169 

as good as ten thousand piastres. That will be honey in 
his mouth. He will forget the past, and our English 
friend can return with you and me to El Khuds.' 

*I shall not return to El Khuds,' said Eva. 'The 
great Sheikh will convoy me to Damascus, where 1 
shall remain till I go to Aleppo.' 

'May you never reach Aleppo!' said Fakredeen, 
with a clouded countenance, for Eva in fact alluded 
to her approaching marriage with her cousin. 

'But after all,' resumed Eva, wishing to change 
the current of his thoughts, ' all these arrangements, 
so far as I am interested, depend upon the success 
of my mission to the great Sheikh. If he will not 
release my father's charge, the spears of his people 
will never guard me again. And I see little prospect 
of my success; nor do I think ten thousand piastres, 
however honestly gained, will be more tempting than 
the inclination to obHge our house.' 

'Ten thousand piastres is not much,' said Fakre- 
deen. 'I give it every three months for interest to a 
little Copt at Beiroot, whose property I will confiscate 
the moment I have the government of the country in 
my hands. But then I only add my ten thousand 
piastres to the amount of my debt. Ten thousand 
piastres in coin are a very different affair. They will 
jingle in the great Sheikh's purse. His people will 
think he has got the treasure of Solomon. It will do; 
he will give them all a gold kaireen apiece, and they 
will braid them in their girls' hair.' 

'It will scarcely buy camels for Sheikh Salem's 
widow,' said Eva. 

' I will manage that,' said Fakredeen. ' The great 
Sheikh has camels enough, and I will give him arms 
in exchange.' 



lyo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

' Arms at Canobia will not reach the stony wilder- 
ness.' 

'No; but I have got arms nearer at hand; that is, 
my friend, my friend whom I am going to meet at 
Gaza, has some; enough, and to spare. By the Holy 
Sepulchre, I see it!' said Fakredeen. 'I tell you how 
I will manage the whole business. The great Sheikh 
wants arms; well, I will give him five hundred mus- 
kets for the ransom, and he shall have the convoy 
besides. He'll take it. I know him. He thinks now 
all is lost, and, when he finds that he is to have a 
jingling purse and English muskets enough to con- 
quer Tadmor, he will close,' 

'But how are we to get these arms?' said Eva. 

'Why, Scheriff Effendi, to be sure. You know I 
am to meet him at Gaza the day after to-morrow, 
and receive his five thousand muskets. Well, five 
hundred for the great Sheikh will make them four 
thousand five hundred; no great difference.' 

'Scheriff Effendi!' said Eva, with some surprise. 
'I thought I had obtained three months' indulgence 
for you with Scheriff Effendi.' 

'Ah! yes — no,' said Fakredeen, blushing. 'The 
fact is, Eva, darling, beloved Eva, it is no use telling 
any more lies. I only asked you to speak to Scheriff 
Effendi to obtain time for me about payment to 
throw you off the scent, as you so strongly disap- 
proved of my buccaneering project. But Scheriff Ef- 
fendi is a camel. I was obliged to agree to meet him 
at Gaza on the new moon, pay him his two hundred 
thousand piastres, and receive the cargo. Well, I 
turn circumstances to account. The great Sheikh 
will convey the muskets to the mountains.' 

'But who is to pay for them?' inquired Eva. 



TANCRED 



171 



'Why, if men want to head the Asian movement, 
they must have muskets,' said Fakredeen; 'and, after 
all, as we are going to save the English prince two 
millions of piastres, I do not think he can object to 
paying Scheriff Effendi for his goods; particularly as 
he will have the muskets for his money.' 





CHAPTER XXXVIII. 
Tancred's Recovery. 

ANCRED rapidly recovered. On the 
second day after his recognition 
of Eva, he had held that conver- 
sation with Fakredeen which had 
determined the young Emir not 
to lose a moment in making the 
effort to induce Amaiek to forego his ransom, the re- 
sult of which he had communicated to Eva on their 
subsequent interview. On the third day, Tancred rose 
from his couch, and would even have quitted the 
tent, had not Baroni dissuaded him. He was the 
more induced to do so, for on this day he missed 
his amusing companion, the Emir. It appeared from 
the account of Baroni, that his highness had departed 
at dawn, on his dromedary, and without an attendant. 
According to Baroni, nothing was yet settled either 
as to the ransom or the release of Tancred. It seemed 
that the great Sheikh had been impatient to return to 
his chief encampment, and nothing but the illness of 
Tancred would probably have induced him to remain 
in the Stony Arabia as long as he had done. The 
Lady Eva had not, since her arrival at the ruined city, 
encouraged Baroni in any communication on the sub- 
(172) 



TANCRED 173 

ject which heretofore during their journey had en- 
tirely occupied her consideration, from which he 
inferred that she had nothing very satisfactory to re- 
late; yet he was not without hope, as he felt assured 
that Eva would not have remained a day were she 
convinced that there was no chance of effecting her 
original purpose. The comparative contentment of 
the great Sheikh at this moment, her silence, and the 
sudden departure of Fakredeen, induced Baroni to be- 
lieve that there was yet something on the cards, and, 
being of a sanguine disposition, he sincerely encour- 
aged his master, who, however, did not appear to be 
very desponding. 

'The Emir told me yesterday that he was certain 
to arrange everything,' said Tancred, 'without in any 
way compromising us. We cannot expect such an 
adventure to end like a day of hunting. Some camels 
must be given, and, perhaps, something else. I am 
sure the Emir will manage it all, especially with the 
aid and counsel of that beauteous Lady of Bethany, in 
whose wisdom and goodness I have implicit faith.' 

'I have more faith in her than in the Emir,' said 
Baroni. 'I never know what these Shehaabs are after. 
Now, he has not gone to El Khuds this morning; of 
that I am sure.' 

*I am under the greatest obligations to the Emir 
Fakredeen,' said Tancred, 'and independently of such 
circumstances, I very much like him.' 

'I know nothing against the noble Emir,' said 
Baroni, 'and I am sure he has been extremely polite 
and attentive to your lordship; but still those She- 
haabs, they are such a set, always after something!' 

'He is ardent and ambitious,' said Tancred, 'and 
he is young. Are these faults.? Besides, he has not 



174 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

had the advantage of our stricter training. He has 
been without guides; and is somewhat undisciplined, 
and self-formed. But he has a great and interesting 
position, and is brilliant and energetic. Providence 
may have appointed him to fulfil great ends.' 

'A Shehaab will look after the main chance,' said 
Baroni. 

'But his main chance may be the salvation of his 
country,' said Tancred. 

'Nothing can save his country,' said Baroni. 'The 
Syrians were ever slaves.' 

'I do not call them slaves now,' said Tancred; 
'why, they are armed and are warlike! All that they 
want is a cause.' 

'And that they never will have,' said Baroni. 

'Why?' 

'The East is used up.' 

' It is not more used up than when Mahomet 
arose,' said Tancred. 'Weak and withering as may 
be the government of the Turks, it is not more feeble 
and enervated than that of the Greek empire and the 
Chosroes.' 

'I don't know anything about them,' replied Ba- 
roni; 'but I know there is nothing to be done with 
the people here. I have seen something of them,' 
said Baroni. 'M. de Sidonia tried to do something 
in '39, and, if there had been a spark of spirit or of 

sense in Syria, that was the time, but ' and here 

Baroni shrugged his shoulders. 

'But what was your principle of action in '39?' 
inquired Tancred, evidently interested. 

'The only principle of action in this world,' said 
Baroni; 'we had plenty of money; we might have 
had three millions.' 



TANCRED 175 

'And if you had had six, or sixteen, your efforts 
would have been equally fruitless. I do not believe in 
national regeneration in the shape of a foreign loan. 
Look at Greece! And yet a man might dimb Mount 
Carmel, and utter three words which would bring the 
Arabs again to Grenada, and perhaps further.' 

'They have no artillery,' said Baroni. 

'And the Turks have artillery and cannot use it,' 
said Lord Montacute. ' Why, the most favoured part 
of the globe at this moment is entirely defenceless; 
there is not a soldier worth firing at in Asia except 
the Sepoys. The Persian, Assyrian, and Babylonian 
monarchies might be gained in a morning with faith 
and the flourish of a sabre.' 

'You would have the Great Powers interfering,' 
said Baroni. 

' What should I care for the Great Powers, if the 
Lord of Hosts were on my side!' 

'Why, to be sure they could not do much at Bag- 
dad or Ispahan.' 

'Work out a great religious truth on the Persian 
and Mesopotamian plains, the most exuberant soils in 
the world with the scantiest population, — it would re- 
vivify Asia. It must spread. The peninsula of Ara- 
bia, when in action, must always command the 
peninsula of the Lesser Asia. Asia revivified would 
act upon Europe. The European comfort, which they 
call civilisation, is, after all, confined to a very small 
space: the island of Great Britain, France, and the 
course of a single river, the Rhine, The greater part 
of Europe is as dead as Asia, without the consolation 
of climate and the influence of immortal traditions.' 

'I just found time, my lord, when I was at Jeru- 
salem, to call in at the Consulate, and see the Colo- 



176 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

nel,' said Baroni; 'I thought it as well to explain the 
affair a little to him. I found that even the rumour 
of our mischance had not reached him; so I said 
enough to prevent any alarm when it arrived; he will 
believe that we furnished him with the priority of in- 
telligence, and he expects your daily return.' 

'You did well to call; we know not what may 
happen. I doubt, however, whether I shall return to 
Jerusalem. If affairs are pleasantly arranged here, I 
think of visiting the Emir, at his castle of Canobia. 
A change of air must be the best thing for me, and 
Lebanon, by his account, is delicious at this season. 
Indeed, I want air, and I must go out now, Baroni; 
I cannot stay in this close tent any longer; the sun 
has set, and there is no longer any fear of those fatal 
heats of which you are in such dread for me.' 

It was the first night of the new moon, and the 
white beams of the young crescent were just begin- 
ning to steal over the lately flushed and empurpled 
scene. The air was still glowing, and the evening 
breeze, which sometimes wandered through the ra- 
vines from the gulf of Akabah, had not yet arrived. 
Tancred, shrouded in his Bedouin cloak, and ac- 
companied by Baroni, visited the circle of black tents, 
which they found almost empty, the whole band, 
with the exception of the scouts, who are always on 
duty in an Arab encampment, being assembled in the 
ruins of the amphitheatre, in whose arena, opposite 
to the pavilion of the great Sheikh, a celebrated poet 
was reciting the visit of Antar to the temple of the 
fire-worshippers, and the adventures of that greatest 
of Arabian heroes among the effeminate and aston- 
ished courtiers of the generous and magnificent Nu- 
shirvan. 



TANCRED 177 

The audience was not a scanty one, for this chosen 
detachment of the children of Rechab had been two 
hundred strong, and the great majority of them were 
now assembled; some seated as the ancient Idumaeans, 
on the still entire seats of the amphitheatre; most 
squatted in groups upon the ground, though at a re- 
spectful distance from the poet; others standing amid 
the crumbling pile and leaning against the tall dark 
fragments just beginning to be silvered by the moon- 
beam; but in all their countenances, their quivering 
features, their flashing eyes, the mouth open with 
absorbing suspense, were expressed a wild and vivid 
excitement, the heat of sympathy, and a ravishing de- 
light. 

When Antar, in the tournament, overthrew the 
famous Greek knight, who had travelled from Constan- 
tinople to beard the court of Persia; when he caught 
in his hand the assassin spear of the Persian satrap, 
envious of his Arabian chivalry, and returned it to his 
adversary's heart; when he shouted from his saddle 
that he was the lover of Ibla and the horseman of the 
age, the audience exclaimed with rapturous earnest- 
ness, 'It is true, it is true!' although they were guar- 
anteeing the assertions of a hero who lived, and loved, 
and fought more than fourteen hundred years before. 
Antar is the Iliad of the desert; the hero is the pas- 
sion of the Bedouins. They will listen for ever to 
his forays, when he raised the triumphant cry of his 
tribe, 'Oh! by Abs; oh! by Adnan,' to the narratives 
of the camels he captured, the men he slew, and the 
maidens to whose charms he was indifferent, for he 
was 'ever the lover of Ibla.' What makes this great 
Arabian invention still more interesting is, that it was 
composed at a period antecedent to the Prophet; it 



178 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

describes the desert before the Koran; and it teaches 
us how little the dwellers in it were changed by the 
introduction and adoption of Islamism. 

As Tancred and his companion reached the amphi- 
theatre, a ringing laugh resounded. 

'Antar is dining with the King of Persia after his 
victory,' said Baroni; 'this is a favourite scene with 
the Arabs. Antar asks the courtiers the name of every 
dish, and whether the king dines so every day. He 
bares his arms, and chucks the food into his mouth 
without ever moving his jaws. They have heard this 
all their lives, but always laugh at it with the same 
heartiness. Why, Shedad, son of Amroo,' continued 
Baroni to an Arab near him, 'you have listened to 
this ever since you first tasted liban, and it still pleases 
you! ' 

' I am never wearied with listening to fine lan- 
guage,' said the Bedouin; 'perfumes are always sweet, 
though you may have smelt them a thousand times.' 

Except when there was some expression of feeling 
elicited by the performance, a shout or a laugh, the 
silence was absolute. Not a whisper could be heard; 
and it was in a muffled tone that Baroni intimated to 
Tancred that the great Sheikh was present, and that, 
as this was his first appearance since his illness, he 
must pay his respects to Amalek. So saying, and 
preceding Tancred, in order that he might announce 
his arrival, Baroni approached the pavilion. The great 
Sheikh welcomed Tancred with a benignant smile, 
motioned to him to sit upon his carpet; rejoiced that 
he was recovered; hoped that he should live a thou- 
sand years; gave him his pipe, and then, turning again 
to the poet, was instantly lost in the interest of his 
narrative. Baroni, standing as near Tancred as the 



TANCRED 179 

carpet would permit him, occasionally leant over and 
gave his lord an intimation of what was occurring. 

After a little while, the poet ceased. Then there 
was a general hum and great praise, and many men 
said to each other, 'All this is true, for my father 
told it to me before.' The great Sheikh, who was 
highly pleased, ordered his slaves to give the poet a 
cup of coffee, and, taking from his own vest an im- 
mense purse, more than a foot in length, he extracted 
from it, after a vast deal of research, one of the small- 
est of conceivable coins, which the poet pressed to 
his lips, and, notwithstanding the exiguity of the 
donation, declared that God was great. 

'O Sheikh of Sheikhs,' said the poet, 'what I 
have recited, though it is by the gift of God, is in 
fact written, and has been ever since the days of the 
giants; but 1 have also dipped my pen into my own 
brain, and now I would recite a poem which I hope 
some day may be suspended in the temple of Mecca. 
It is in honour of one who, were she to rise to our 
sight, would be as the full moon when it rises over 
the desert. Yes, I sing of Eva, the daughter of 
Amalek (the Bedouins always omitted Besso in her 
genealogy), Eva, the daughter of a thousand chiefs. 
May she never quit the tents of her race! May she 
always ride upon Nejid steeds and dromedaries, with 
harness of silver! May she live among us for ever! 
May she show herself to the people like a free Ara- 
bian maiden!' 

'They are the thoughts of truth,' said the de- 
lighted Bedouins to one another; 'every word is a 
pearl.' 

And the great Sheikh sent a slave to express his 
wish that Eva and her maidens should appear. So 



i8o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

she came to listen to the ode which the poet had 
composed in her honour. He had seen palm trees, 
but they were not as tall and graceful as Eva; he had 
beheld the eyes of doves and antelopes, but they 
were not as bright and soft as hers; he had tasted 
the fresh springs in the wilderness, but they were not 
more welcome than she; and the soft splendour of 
the desert moon was not equal to her brow. She 
was the daughter of Amalek, the daughter of a thou- 
sand chiefs. Might she live for ever in their tents; 
ever ride on Nejid steeds and on dromedaries with 
silver harness; ever show herself to the people like a 
free Arabian maiden! 

The poet, after many variations on this theme, 
ceased amid great plaudits. 

'He is a true poet,' said an Arab, who was, like 
most of his brethren, a critic; * he is in truth a second 
Antar.' 

' If he had recited these verses before the King of 
Persia, he would have given him a thousand camels,' 
replied his neighbour, gravely. 

'They ought to be suspended in the temple of 
Mecca,' said a third. 

'What I most admire is his image of the full 
moon; that cannot be too often introduced,' said a 
fourth. 

'Truly the moon should ever shine,' said a fifth. 
'Also in all truly fine verses there should be palm 
trees and fresh springs.' 

Tancred, to whom Baroni had conveyed the mean- 
ing of the verses, was also pleased; having observed 
that, on a previous occasion, the great Sheikh had re- 
warded the bard, Tancred ventured to take a chain, 
which he fortunately chanced to wear, from his neck, 



TANCRED i8i 

and sent it to the poet of Eva, This made a great 
sensation, and highly dehghted the Arabs. 

'Truly this is the brother of queens,' they whis- 
pered to each other. 

Now the audience was breaking up and dispersing, 
and Tancred, rising, begged permission of his host to 
approach Eva, who was seated at the entrance of the 
pavilion, somewhat withdrawn from them. 

'If I were a poet,' said Tancred, bending before 
her, ' I would attempt to express my gratitude to 
the Lady of Bethany. I hope,' he added, after a 
moment's pause, ' that Baroni laid my message at 
your feet. When I begged your permission to thank 
you in person to-morrow, I had not imagined that 
I should have been so wilful as to quit the tent to- 
night.' 

'It will not harm you,' said Eva; 'our Arabian 
nights bear balm.' 

'I feel it,' said Tancred; 'this evening will com- 
plete the cure you so benignantly commenced.' 

'Mine were slender knowledge and simple means,' 
said Eva; 'but I rejoice that they were of use, more 
especially as I learn that we are all interested in your 
pilgrimage. 

'The Emir Fakredeen has spoken to you?' said 
Tancred, inquiringly, and with a countenance a little 
agitated. 

' He has spoken to me of some things for which 
our previous conversation had not entirely unprepared 
me.' 

'Ah!' said Tancred, musingly, 'our previous con- 
versation. It is not very long ago since I slumbered 
by the side of your fountain, and yet it seems to me 
an age, an age of thought and events.' 



i82 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Yet even then your heart was turned towards 
our unhappy Asia,' said the Lady of Bethany. 

'Unhappy Asia! Do you call it unhappy Asia! 
This land of divine deeds and divine thoughts! Its 
slumber is more vital than the waking life of the rest 
of the globe, as the dream of genius is more precious 
than the vigils of ordinary men. Unhappy Asia, do 
you call it.? It is the unhappiness of Europe over 
which I mourn.' 

'Europe, that has conquered Hindostan, protects 
Persia and Asia Minor, affects to have saved Syria,' 
said Eva, with some bitterness. 'Oh! what can we 
do against Europe ? ' 

'Save it,' said Tancred. 

'We cannot save ourselves; what means have we 
to save others ? ' 

'The same you have ever exercised, Divine Truth. 
Send forth a great thought, as you have done before, 
from Mount Sinai, from the villages of Galilee, from 
the deserts of Arabia, and you may again remodel all 
their institutions, change their principles of action, 
and breathe a new spirit into the whole scope of 
their existence.' 

' I have sometimes dreamed such dreams,' mur- 
mured Eva, looking down. ' No, no,' she exclaimed, 
raising her head, after a moment's pause, 'it is im- 
possible. Europe is too proud, with its new command 
over nature, to listen even to prophets. Levelling 
mountains, riding without horses, sailing without 
winds, how can these men believe that there is any 
power, human or divine, superior to themselves?' 

'As for their command over nature,' said Tancred, 
'let us see how it will operate in a second deluge. 
Command over nature! Why, the humblest root that 



TANCRED 183 

serves for the food of man has mysteriously withered 
throughout Europe, and they are already pale at the 
possible consequences. This slight eccentricity of 
that nature which they boast they can command has 
already shaken empires, and may decide the fate of 
nations. No, gentle lady, Europe is not happy. Amid 
its false excitement, its bustling invention, and its 
endless toil, a profound melancholy broods over its 
spirit and gnaws at its heart. In vain they baptise 
their tumult by the name of progress; the whisper of 
a demon is ever asking them, "Progress, from whence 
and to what?" Excepting those who still cling to 
your Arabian creeds, Europe, that quarter of the globe 
to which God has never spoken, Europe is without 
consolation.' 




CHAPTER XXXIX. 




Freedom. 

HREE or four days had elapsed since 
the departure of Fakredeen, and 
!i^ during each of them Tancred saw 
Eva; indeed, his hours were much 
passed in the pavilion of the 
^ great Sheikh, and, though he was 
never alone with the daughter of Besso, the language 
which they spoke, unknown to those about them, 
permitted them to confer without restraint on those 
subjects in which they were interested. Tancred 
opened his mind without reserve to Eva, for he liked 
to test the soundness of his conclusions by her clear 
intelligence. Her lofty spirit harmonised with his 
own high-toned soul. He found both sympathy and 
inspiration in her heroic purposes. Her passionate 
love of her race, her deep faith in the destiny and 
genius of her Asian land, greatly interested him. To 
his present position she referred occasionally, but with 
reluctance; it seemed as if she thought it unkind en- 
tirely to pass it over, yet that to be reminded of it 
was not satisfactory. Of Fakredeen she spoke much 
and frequently. She expressed with frankness, even 
with warmth, her natural and deep regard for him, 
(.84) 



TANCRED 185 

the interest she took in his career, and the high 
opinion she entertained of his powers; but she la- 
mented his inventive restlessness, which often arrested 
action, and intimated how much he might profit by 
the counsels of a friend more distinguished for con- 
sistency and sternness of purpose. 

In the midst of all this, Fakredeen returned. He 
came in the early morning, and immediately repaired 
to the pavilion of the great Sheikh, with whom he 
was long closeted. Baroni first brought the news to 
Tancred, and subsequently told him that the quantity 
of nargilehs smoked by the young Emir indicated not 
only a prolonged, but a difficult, controversy. Some 
time after this, Tancred, lounging in front of his 
tent, and watching the shadows as they stole over 
the mountain tombs, observed Fakredeen issue from 
the pavilion of Amalek. His flushed and radiant 
countenance would seem to indicate good news. As 
he recognised Tancred, he saluted him in the Eastern 
fashion, hastily touching his heart, his lip, and his 
brow. When he had reached Tancred, Fakredeen 
threw himself in his arms, and, embracing him, 
whispered in an agitated voice on the breast of Lord 
Montacute, 'Friend of my heart, you are free!' 

In the meantime, Amalek announced to his tribe 
that at sunset the encampment would break up, and 
they would commence their return to the Syrian 
wilderness, through the regions eastward of the Dead 
Sea. The Lady Eva would accompany them, and the 
children of Rechab were to have the honour of escort- 
ing her and her attendants to the gates of Damascus. 
A detachment of five-and-twenty Beni-Rechab were 
to accompany Fakredeen and Tancred, Hassan and 
his Jellaheens, in a contrary direction of the desert, 



1 86 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

until they arrived at Gaza, where they were to await 
further orders from the young Emir. 

No sooner was this intelligence circulated than 
the silence which had pervaded the desert ruins at 
once ceased. Men came out of every tent and tomb. 
All was bustle and noise. They chattered, they sang, 
they talked to their horses, they apprised their camels 
of the intended expedition. They declared that the 
camels had consented to go; they anticipated a pros- 
perous journey; they speculated on what tribes they 
might encounter. 

It required all the consciousness of great duties, all 
the inspiration of a great purpose, to sustain Tancred 
under this sudden separation from Eva. Much he re- 
gretted that it was not also his lot to traverse the 
Syrian wilderness, but it was not for him to interfere 
with arrangements which he could neither control nor 
comprehend. All that passed amid the ruins of this 
desert city was as incoherent and restless as the in- 
cidents of a dream; yet not without the bright pas- 
sages of strange fascination which form part of the 
mosaic of our slumbering reveries. At dawn a pris- 
oner, at noon a free man, yet still, from his position, 
unable to move without succour, and without guides; 
why he was captured, how he was enfranchised, 
alike mysteries; Tancred yielded without a struggle to 
the management of that individual who was clearly 
master of the situation. Fakredeen decided upon 
everything, and no one was inclined to impugn the 
decrees of him whose rule commenced by conferring 
freedom. 

It was only half an hour to sunset. The advanced 
guard of the children of Rechab, mounted on their 
dromedaries, and armed with lances, had some hours 



TANCRED 187 

ago quitted the ruins. The camels, laden with the 
tents and baggage, attended by a large body of foot- 
men with matchlocks, and who, on occasion, could 
add their own weight to the burden of their charge, 
were filing through the mountains; some horsemen 
were galloping about the plain and throwing the 
jereed; a considerable body, most of them dismounted, 
but prepared for the seat, were collected by the river 
side; about a dozen steeds of the purest race, one or 
two of them caparisoned, and a couple of dromeda- 
ries, were picketed before the pavilion of the great 
Sheikh, which was not yet struck, and about which 
some grooms were squatted, drinking coffee, and every 
now and then turning to the horses, and addressing 
them in tones of the greatest affection and respect. 

Suddenly one of the grooms jumped up and said, 
*He comes;' and then going up to a bright bay 
mare, whose dark prominent eye equalled in bril- 
liancy, and far exceeded in intelligence, the splendid 
orbs of the antelope, he addressed her, and said, *0 
Diamond of Derayeh, the Princess of the desert can 
alone ride on thee!' 

There came forth from his pavilion the great 
Amalek, accompanied by some of his Sheikhs; there 
came forth from the pavilion Eva, attended by her 
gigantic Nubian and her maidens; there came forth 
from the pavilion the Emir Fakredeen and Lord Mon- 
tacute. 

'There is but one God,' said the great Sheikh as 
he pressed his hand to his heart, and bade farewell 
to the Emir and his late prisoner. 'May he guard 
over us all!' 

'Truly there is but one God,' echoed the attend- 
ant Sheikhs. 'May you find many springs!' 



i88 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The maidens were placed on their dromedaries; 
the grooms, as if by magic, had already struck the 
pavilion of their Sheikh, and were stowing it away 
on the back of a camel; Eva, first imprinting on the 
neck of the mare a gentle embrace, vaulted into the 
seat of the Diamond of Derayeh, which she rode in 
the fashion of Zenobia. To Tancred, with her in- 
spired brow, her cheek slightly flushed, her undu- 
lating figure, her eye proud of its dominion over the 
beautiful animal which moved its head with haughty 
satisfaction at its destiny, Eva seemed the impersona- 
tion of some young classic hero going forth to con- 
quer a world. 

Striving to throw into her countenance and the 
tones of her voice a cheerfulness which was really at 
this moment strange to them, she said, ' Farewell, 
Fakredeen!' and then, after a moment's hesitation, 
and looking at Tancred with a faltering glance which 
yet m.ade his heart tremble, she added, ' Farewell, 
Pilgrim of Sinai.' 




CHAPTER XL. 




The Romantic Story of Baroni. 

§ HE Emir of the Lebanon and his 
English friend did not depart from 
the desert city until the morrow, 
Fakredeen being so wearied by 
his journey that he required repose. 
Unsustained by his lively conversa- 
tion, Tancred felt all the depression natural to his po- 
sition; and, restless and disquieted, wandered about 
the valley in the moonlight, recalling the vanished 
images of the past. After some time, unable himself 
to sleep, and finding Baroni disinclined to slumber, he 
reminded his attendant of the promise he had once 
given at Jerusalem, to tell something of his history. 
Baroni was a lively narrator, and, accompanied by his 
gestures, his speaking glance, and all the pantomime 
of his energetic and yet controlled demeanour, the 
narrative, as he delivered it, would have been doubt- 
less much more amusing than the calmer form in 
which, upon reflection, we have thought fit to record 
some incidents which the reader must not in any 
degree suppose to form merely an episode in this 
history. With this observation we solicit attention to 

(189) 



190 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the l)i$tory of tbe Baroni family* 

BEING A CHAPTER IN THE LIFE OF SIDONIA. 
I. 

'I had no idea that you had a garrison here,' said 
Sidonia, as the distant sounds of martial music were 
wafted down a long, ancient street, that seemed 
narrower than it was from the great elevation of its 
fantastically-shaped houses, into the principal square 
in which was situate his hotel. The town was one 
of the least frequented of Flanders; and Sidonia, who 
was then a youth, scarcely of twenty summers, was 
on his rambling way to Frankfort, where he then re- 
sided. 

'It is not the soldiers,' said the Flemish maiden in 
attendance, and who was dressed in one of those 
pretty black silk jackets that seem to blend so well 
with the sombre yet picturesque dwellings of the 
Spanish Netherlands. 'It is not the soldiers, sir; it is 
only the Baroni family.' 

'And who are the Baroni family.?' 

'They are Italians, sir, and have been here this 
week past, giving some representations.' 

'Of what kind?' 

' I hardly know, sir, only I have heard that they 
are very beautiful. There is tumbling, I know for 
certain; and there was the Plagues of Egypt; but 1 
believe it changes every night.' 

'And you have not yet seen them?' 

'Oh no, sir, it is not for such as me; the second 
places are half a franc!' 

'And what is your name?' said Sidonia. 



TANCRED 191 

'Therese; at your service, sir.' 

'You shall go and see the Baroni family to-night, 
Therese, if your mistress will let you.' 

'I am sure she would if you would ask her, sir,' 
said Therese, looking down and colouring with de- 
light. The little jacket seemed very agitated. 

'Here they come!' said Sidonia, looking out of 
the window on the great square. 

A man, extremely good-looking and well made, in 
the uniform of a marshal of France, his cocked hat 
fringed and plumed, and the colour of his coat almost 
concealed by its embroidery, played a clarionet like a 
master; four youths of a tender age, remarkable both 
for their beauty and their grace, dressed in very hand- 
some scarlet uniforms, with white scarfs, performed 
upon French horns and similar instruments with great 
energy and apparent delight; behind them an hon- 
est Blouse, hired for the occasion, beat the double 
drum. 

'Two of them are girls,' said Therese; 'and they 
are all the same family, except the drummer, who be- 
longs, I hear, to Ypres. Sometimes there are six of 
them, two little ones, who, I suppose, are left at 
home to-day; they look quite like httle angels; the 
boy plays the triangle and his sister beats a tambou- 
rine.' 

'They are great artists,' murmured Sidonia to 
himself, as he listened to their performance of one of 
Donizetti's finest compositions. The father stood in 
the centre of the great square, the other musicians 
formed a circle round him; they continued their per- 
formance for about ten minutes to a considerable 
audience, many of whom had followed them, while 
the rest had collected at their appearance. There was 



192 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

an inclination in tlie curious multitude to press around 
the young performers, who would have been in a 
great degree hidden from general view by this dis- 
courteous movement, and even the sound of their in- 
struments in some measure suppressed, Sidonia 
marked with interest the calm and commanding 
manner with which, under these circumstances, the 
father controlled the people. They yielded in an in- 
stant to his will: one tall blacksmith seemed scarcely 
to relish his somewhat imperious demeanour, and 
stood rooted to the ground; but Baroni, placing only 
one hand on the curmudgeon's brawny shoulder, 
while he still continued playing on his instrument 
with the other, whirled him away hke a puppet. 
The multitude laughed, and the disconcerted black- 
smith slunk away. 

When the air was finished, Baroni took off his 
grand hat, and in a loud voice addressed the assem- 
bled people, informing them that this evening, in the 
largest room of the Auberge of St. Nicholas, there 
would be a variety of entertainments, consisting of 
masterpieces of strength and agility, dramatic recita- 
tions, dancing and singing, to conclude with the mys- 
tery of the Crucifixion of our blessed Lord and Saviour; 
in which all the actors in that memorable event, among 
others the blessed Virgin, the blessed St. Mary Mag- 
dalene, the Apostles, Pontius Pilate, the High Priest of 
the Jews, and many others, would appear, all to be 
represented by one family. 

The speaker having covered himself, the band 
again formed and passed the window of Sidonia's 
hotel, followed by a stream of idle amateurs, animated 
by the martial strain, and attracted by the pleasure of 
hearing another fine performance at the next quarter 



TANCRED 193 

of the town, where the Baroni family might halt to 
announce the impending amusements of the evening. 

The moon was beginning to glitter, when Sidonia 
threw his cloak around him, and asked the way to 
the Auberge of St. Nicholas. It was a large, un- 
gainly, whitewashed house, at the extremity of a 
suburb where the straggling street nearly ceased, and 
emptied itself into what in England would have been 
called a green. The many windows flared with 
lights, the doorway was filled with men smoking, 
and looking full of importance, as if, instead of being 
the usual loungers of the tavern, they were about to 
perform a principal part in the exhibition; they made 
way with respectful and encouraging ceremony to any 
one who entered to form part of the audience, and 
rated with sharp words, and sometimes a ready cuff, 
a mob of little boys who besieged the door, and im- 
plored every one who entered to give them tickets 
to see the Crucifixion. 'It's the last piece,' they per- 
petually exclaimed, * and we may come in for five 
sous a head.' 

Sidonia mounted the staircase, and, being a suitor 
for a ticket for the principal seats, was received with 
a most gracious smile by a pretty woman, fair-faced 
and arch, with a piquant nose and a laughing blue 
eye, who sat at the door of the room. It was a long 
and rather narrow apartment; at the end, a stage of 
rough planks, before a kind of curtain, the whole 
rudely but not niggardly lighted. Unfortunately for 
the Baroni family, Sidonia found himself the only first- 
class spectator. There was a tolerable sprinkling of 
those who paid half a franc for their amusement. 
These were separated from the first row, which 
Sidonia alone was to occupy; in the extreme distance 



194 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

was a large space not fitted up with benches, where 
the miscellaneous multitude, who could summon up 
five sous apiece later in the evening, to see the 
Crucifixion, were to be stowed. 

'It hardly pays the lights,' said the pretty woman 
at the door. 'We have not had good fortune in this 
town. It seems hard, when there is so much for the 
money, and the children take such pains in going the 
rounds in the morning.' 

' And you are Madame Baroni ? ' said Sidonia. 

'Yes; 1 am the mother,' she replied. 

'I should have thought you had been their sister,' 
said Sidonia. 

'My eldest son is fifteen! I often wish that he 
was anything else but what he is, but we do not 
like to separate. We are all one family, sir, and that 
makes us bear many things.' 

' Well, I think I know a way to increase your 
audience,' said Sidonia. 

'Indeed! 1 am sure it is very kind of you to say 
so much; we have not met with a gentleman like 
you the whole time we have been here.' 

Sidonia descended the stairs; the smoking amateurs 
made way for him with great parade, and pushed 
back with equal unkindness the young and wistful 
throng who still hovered round the portal, 

'Don't you see the gentleman wants to go by? 
Get back, you boys!' 

Sidonia halted on the doorway, and, taking ad- 
vantage of a momentary pause, said, ' All the little 
boys are to come in free.' 

What a rush! 

The performances commenced by the whole of the 
Baroni family appearing in a row, and bowing to the 



TANCRED 195 

audience. The father was now dressed in a Greek 
costume, which exhibited to perfection his compact 
frame: he looked hke the captain of a band of Pah- 
kari; on his left appeared the mother, who, having 
thrown off her cloak, seemed a sylph or a sultana, 
for her bonnet had been succeeded by a turban. The 
three girls were on her left hand, and on the right 
of her husband were their three brothers. The eldest 
son, Francis, resembled his father, or rather was what 
his father must have been in all the freshness of boy- 
hood; the same form of blended strength and symme- 
try; the same dark eye, the same determined air and 
regular features which in time would become strongly 
marked. The second boy, Alfred, about eleven, was 
delicate, fair, and fragile, like his mother; his sweet 
countenance, full of tenderness, changed before the 
audience with a rapid emotion. The youngest son, 
Michel, was an infant of four years, and with his 
large blue eyes and long golden hair, might have 
figured as one of the seraphs of Murillo. 

There was analogy in the respective physical ap- 
pearances of the brothers and the sisters. The eldest 
girl, Josephine, though she had only counted twelve 
summers, was in stature, and almost in form, a 
woman. She was strikingly handsome, very slender, 
and dark as night. Adelaide, in colour, in look, in 
the grace of every gesture, and in the gushing tender- 
ness of her wild, yet shrinking glance, seemed the 
twin of Alfred. The little Carlotta, more than two 
years older than Michel, was the miniature of her 
mother, and had a piquant coquettish air, mixed with 
an expression of repose in one so young quite droll, 
like a little opera dancer. The father clapped his 
hands, and all, except himself, turned round, bowed 



196 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

to the audience, and retired, leaving Baroni and his 
two elder children. Then commenced a variety of 
feats of strength. Baroni stretched forth his right arm, 
and Josephine, with a bound, instantly sprang upon 
his shoulder; while she thus remained, balancing her- 
self only on her left leg, and looking like a flying 
Victory, her father stretched forth his left arm, and 
Francis sprang upon the shoulder opposite to his sis- 
ter, and formed with her a group which might have 
crowned a vase. Infinite were the postures into 
which, for more than half an hour, the brother and 
sister threw their flexible forms, and all alike distin- 
guished for their agility, their grace, and their preci- 
sion. At length, all the children, with the exception 
of Carlotta, glided from behind the curtain, and clus- 
tered around their father with a quickness which 
baffled observation. Alfred and Adelaide suddenly ap- 
peared, mounted upon Josephine and Francis, who 
had already resumed their former positions on the 
shoulders of their father, and stood immovable with 
outstretched arms, while their brother and sister bal- 
anced themselves above. This being arranged, Baroni 
caught up the young Michel, and, as it were, flung 
him up on high; Josephine received the urchin, and 
tossed him up to Adelaide, and in a moment the 
beautiful child was crowning the living pyramid, his 
smiling face nearly touching the rough ceiling of the 
chamber, and clapping his little hands with practised 
triumph, as Baroni walked about the stage with the 
breathing burden. 

He stopped, and the children disappeared from his 
shoulders, like birds from a tree when they hear a 
sound. He clapped his hands, they turned round, 
bowed, and vanished. 



TANCRED 197 

*As this feat pleases you,' said the father, 'and as 
we have a gentleman here to-night who has proved 
himself a liberal patron of artists, I will show you 
something that I rarely exhibit; I will hold the whole 
of the Baroni family with my two hands;' and here- 
upon addressing some stout-looking fellows among 
his audience, he begged them to come forward and 
hold each end of a plank that was leaning against the 
wall, one which had not been required for the quickly- 
constructed stage. This they did with some diffidence, 
and with that air of constraint characteristic of those 
who have been summoned from a crowd to perform 
something which they do not exactly comprehend. 

'Be not afraid, my good friends,' said Baroni to 
them, as Francis lightly sprang on one end of the 
plank, and Josephine on the other; then Alfred and 
Adelaide skipped up together at equal distances; so 
that the four children were now standing in attitude 
upon the same basis, which four stout men endeav- 
oured, with difficulty, to keep firm. At that mo- 
ment Madame Baroni, with the two young children, 
came from behind the curtain, and vaulted exactly on 
the middle of the board, so that the bold Michel on 
the one side, and the demure Carlotta on the other, 
completed the group. 'Thank you, my friends,' said 
Baroni, slipping under the plank, which was raised to 
a height which just admitted him to pass under it, 
'I will release you,' and with his outstretched hands 
he sustained the whole burthen, the whole of the 
Baroni family supported by the father. 

After this there was a pause of a few minutes, the 
stage was cleared and Baroni, in a loose great-coat, 
appeared at its side with a violin. He played a few 
bars, then turning to the audience, said with the 



198 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

same contemptuous expression, which always distin- 
guished him when he addressed them, 'Now you are 
going to hear a scene from a tragedy of the great 
Racine, one of the greatest tragedy writers that ever 
existed, if you may never have heard him; but if you 
were at Paris, and went to the great theatre, you 
would find that what I am telling you is true.' And 
Josephine advanced, warmly cheered by the specta- 
tors, who thought that they were going to have some 
more tumbling. She advanced, however, as Androm- 
ache. It seemed to Sidonia that he had never listened 
to a voice more rich and passionate, to an elocution 
more complete; he gazed with admiration on her 
lightning glance and all the tumult of her noble brow. 
As she finished, he applauded her with vehemence. 
He was standing near to her fiither leaning against 
the wall. 

'Your daughter is a great actress,' he said to Ba- 
roni. 

'I sometimes think so,' said the father, turning 
round with some courtesy to Sidonia, whom he recog- 
nised as the liberal stranger who had so kindly increased 
his meagre audience; 'I let her do this to please her- 
self. She is a good girl, but very few of the respect- 
able savages here speak French. However, she likes 
it. Adelaide is now going to sing; that will suit 
them better.' 

Then there were a few more bars scraped on the 
violin, and Adelaide, glowing rather than blushing, 
with her eyes first on the ground and then on the 
ceiling, but in all her movements ineffable grace, came 
forward and courtesied. She sang an air of Auber 
and of Bellini: a voice of the rarest quality, and, it 
seemed to Sidonia, promising almost illimitable power. 



TANCRED 199 

'Your family is gifted,' he said to Baroni, as he 
applauded his second daughter as warmly as the first; 
and the audience applauded her too. 

' I sometimes think so. They are all very good. 
1 am afraid, however, that this gift will not serve her 
much. The good-natured savages seem pleased. 
Carlotta now is going to dance; that will suit them 
better. She has had good instruction. Her mother 
was a dancer.' 

And immediately, with her lip a little curling, a 
look of complete self-possession, willing to be ad- 
mired, yet not caring to conceal her disgust, the little 
Carlotta advanced, and, after pointing her toe, threw 
a glance at her father to announce that he might 
begin. He played with more care and energy than 
for the other sisters, for Carlotta was exceedingly 
wilful and imperious, and, if the music jarred, would 
often stop, shrug her shoulders, and refuse to pro- 
ceed. Her mother doted on her; even the austere 
Baroni, who ruled his children like a Pasha, though 
he loved them, was a little afraid of Carlotta. 

The boards were coarse and rough, some even not 
sufficiently tightened, but it seemed to Sidonia, ex- 
perienced as he was in the schools of Paris, London, 
and Milan, that he had never witnessed a more bril- 
liant facility than that now displayed by this little 
girl. Her soul, too, was entirely in her art; her coun- 
tenance generally serious and full of thought, yet oc- 
casionally, when a fine passage had been successfully 
achieved, radiant with triumph and delight. She was 
cheered, and cheered, and cheered; but treated the 
applause, when she retired, with great indifference. 
Fortunately, Sidonia had a rose in his button-hole, 
and he stepped forward and presented it to her. This 



200 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

gratified Carlotta, who bestowed on him a glance full 
of coquetry. 

'And now,' said Baroni, to the people, 'you are 
going to see the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: all the 
tableaux are taken from pictures by the most fimous 
artists that ever lived, Raphael, Rubens, and others. 
Probably you never heard of them. I can't help that; 
it is not my fault; all 1 can say is, that if you go to 
the Vatican and other galleries, you may see them. 
There will be a pause of ten minutes, for the children 
want rest.' 

Now there was a stir and a devouring of fruit; 
Baroni, who was on the point of going behind the 
curtain, came forward, and there was silence again to 
listen to him. 

'I understand,' he said, roughly, 'there is a col- 
lection going to be made for the children; mind, I 
ask no one to subscribe to it; no one obliges me 
by giving anything to it; it is for the children and 
the children alone, they have it to spend, that is 
all.' 

The collectors were Michel and Adelaide. Michel 
was always successful at a collection. He was a 
great favourite, and wonderfully bold; he would push 
about in the throng like a Hercules, whenever anyone 
called out to him to fetch a liard. Adelaide, who 
carried the box, was much too retiring, and did not 
like the business at all; but it was her turn, and she 
could not avoid it. No one gave them more than a 
sou. It is due, however, to the little boys who were 
admitted free, to state that they contributed hand- 
somely; indeed, they expended all the money they 
had in the exhibition room, either in purchasing fruit, 
or in bestowing backsheesh on the performers. 



TANCRED 20I 

'Encore tin Hard pour Michel,' was called out by 
several of them, in order to make Michel rush back, 
which he did instantly at the exciting sound, ready 
to overwhelm the hugest men in his resistless course. 

At last, Adelaide, holding the box in one hand and 
her brother by the other, came up to Sidonia, and 
cast her eyes upon the ground. 

'For Michel,' said Sidonia, dropping a five-franc 
piece into the box. 

'A piece of a hundred sous!' said Michel. 

'And a piece of a hundred sous for yourself and 
each of your brothers and sisters, Adelaide,' said Si- 
donia, giving her a purse. 

Michel gave a shout, but Adelaide blushed very 
much, kissed his hand, and skipped away. When she 
had got behind the curtain, she jumped on her father's 
neck, and burst into tears. Madame Baroni, not 
knowing what had occurred, and observing that Si- 
donia could command from his position a view of 
what was going on in their sanctuary, pulled the cur- 
tain, and deprived Sidonia of a scene which interested 
him. 

About ten minutes after this, Baroni again appeared 
in his rough great-coat, and with his violin. He gave 
a scrape or two, and the audience became orderly. 
He played an air, and then turning to Sidonia, look- 
ing at him with great scrutiny, he said, 'Sir, you are 
a prince.' 

'On the contrary,' said Sidonia, 'I am nothing; I 
am only an artist like yourself.' 

' Ah! ' said Baroni, 'an artist like myself! I thought 
so. You have taste. And what is your line ? Some 
great theatre, I suppose, where even if one is ruined, 
one at least has the command of capital. 'Tis a po- 



202 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

sition. I have none. But I have no rebels in my 
company, no traitors. With one mind and heart we 

get on, and yet sometimes ' and here a signal 

near him reminded him that he must be playing an- 
other air, and in a moment the curtain separated in 
the middle, and exhibited a circular stage on which 
there were various statues representing the sacred story. 

There were none of the usual means and materials 
of illusion at hand; neither space, nor distance, nor 
cunning lights; it was a confined tavern room with 
some glaring tapers, and Sidonia himself was almost 
within arm's reach of the performers. Yet a repre- 
sentation more complete, more finely conceived, and 
more perfectly executed, he had never witnessed. It 
was impossible to credit that these marble forms, im- 
pressed with ideal grace, so still, so sad, so sacred, 
could be the little tumblers, who, but half-an-hour 
before, were disporting on the coarse boards at his 
side. 

The father always described, before the curtain 
was withdrawn, with a sort of savage terseness, the 
subject of the impending scene. The groups did not 
continue long; a pause of half a minute, and the cir- 
cular stage revolved, and the curtain again closed. 
This rapidity of representation was necessary, lest de- 
lay should compromise the indispensable immovable- 
ness of the performers. 

'Now,' said Baroni, turning his head to the audi- 
ence, and slightly touching his violin, ' Christ falls 
under the weight of the cross.' And immediately the 
curtain parted, and Sidonia beheld a group in the 
highest style of art, and which though deprived of 
all the magic of colour, almost expressed the passion 
of Correggio. 



TANCRED 203 

' It is Alfred,' said Baroni, as Sidonia evinced his 
admiration. ' He chiefly arranges all this, under my 
instructions. In drapery his talent is remarkable.' 

At length, after a series of representations, which 
were all worthy of being exhibited in the pavilions of 
princes, Baroni announced the last scene. 

' What you are going to see now is the Descent 
from the Cross; it is after Rubens, one of the great- 
est masters that ever lived, if you ever heard of such 
a person,' he added, in a grumbling voice, and then 
turning to Sidonia, he said, ' This crucifixion is the 
only thing which these savages seem at all to under- 
stand; but I should like you, sir, as you are an artist, 
to see the children in some Greek or Roman story: 
Pygmalion, or the Death of Agrippina. I think you 
would be pleased.' 

'I cannot be more pleased than I am now,' said 
Sidonia. 'I am also astonished.' 

But here Baroni was obliged to scrape his fiddle, 
for the curtain moved. 

* It is a triumph of art,' said Sidonia, as he beheld 
the immortal group of Rubens reproduced with a 
precision and an exquisite feeling which no language 
can sufficiently convey, or too much extol. 

The performances were over, the little artists were 
summoned to the front scene to be applauded, the 
scanty audience were dispersing: Sidonia lingered. 

'You are living in this house, I suppose.?' he said 
to Baroni. 

Baroni shook his head. ' I can afford no roof ex- 
cept my own.' 

' And where is that } ' 

' On four wheels, on the green here. We are 
vagabonds, and, I suppose, must always be so; but. 



204 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

being one family, we can bear it. I wish the children 
to have a good supper to-night, in honour of your 
kindness. I have a good deal to do. I must put 
these things in order,' as he spoke he was working; 
'there is the grandmother who lives with us; all this 
time she is alone, guarded, however, by the dog. I 
should like them to have meat to-night, if I can get 
it. Their mother cooks the supper. Then I have got 
to hear them say their prayers. All this takes time, 
particularly as we have to rise early, and do many 
things before we make our first course through the 
city.' 

'I will come and see you to-morrow,' said Sido- 
nia, 'after your first progress.' 

'An hour after noon, if you please,' said Baroni. 
'It is pleasant for me to become acquainted with a 
fellow artist, and one so liberal as yourself.' 

'Your name is Baroni,' said Sidonia, looking at 
him earnestly. 

' My name is Baroni.' 

' An Italian name.' 

'Yes, I come from Cento.' 

'Well, we shall meet to-morrow. Good night, 
Baroni. 1 am going to send you some wine for your 
supper, and take care the grandmamma drinks my 
health.' 



It was a sunny morn: upon the green contiguous 
to the Auberge of St. Nicholas was a house upon 
wheels, a sort of monster omnibus, its huge shafts 
idle on the ground, while three fat Flemish horses 



TANCRED 205 

cropped the surrounding pasture. From the door of 
the house were some temporary steps, hke an ac- 
commodation ladder, on which sat Baroni, dressed 
something hke a Neapohtan fisherman, and mend- 
ing his clarionet; the man in the blouse was eating 
his dinner, seated between the shafts, to which also 
was fastened the little dog, often the only garrison, 
except the grandmother, of this strange establish- 
ment. 

The little dog began barking vociferously, and 
Baroni, looking up, instantly bade him be quiet. It 
was Sidonia whose appearance in the distance had 
roused the precautionary voice. 

'Well,' said Sidonia, 'I heard your trumpets this 
morning.' 

'The grandmother sleeps,' said Baroni, taking off 
his cap, and slightly rising. 'The rest also are lying 
down after their dinner. Children will never repose 
unless there are rules, and this with them is inva- 
riable.' 

' But your children surely cannot be averse to re- 
pose, for they require it.' 

'Their blood is young,' continued Baroni, still 
mending his clarionet; 'they are naturally gay, except 
my eldest son. He is restless, but he is not gay.' 

'He likes his art?' 

'Not too much; what he wants is to travel, and, 
after all, though we are always moving, the circle is 
limited.' 

'Yes; you have many to move. And can this ark 
contain them all?' said Sidonia, seating himself on 
some timber that was at hand. 

'With convenience even,' replied Baroni; 'but 
everything can be effected by order and discipline. I 



io6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

rule and regulate my house like a ship. In a vessel, 
there is not as much accommodation for the size as 
in a house of this kind; yet nowhere is there more 
decency and cleanliness than on board ship.' 

'You have an obedient crew,' said Sidonia, 'and 
that is much.' 

'Yes; when they wake my children say their 
prayers, and then they come to embrace me and their 
mother. This they have never omitted during their 
lives. 1 have taught them from their birth to 
obey God and to honour their parents. These two 
principles have made them a religious and moral 
family. They have kept us united, and sustained us 
under severe trials.' 

'Yet such talents as you all possess,' said Sidonia, 
' should have exempted you from any very hard 
struggle, especially when united, as apparently in 
your case, with well-ordered conduct.' 

'It would seem that they should,' said Baroni, 
' but less talents than we possess would, probably, 
obtain as high a reward. The audiences that we ad- 
dress have little feeling for art, and all these per- 
formances, which you so much applauded last night, 
would not, perhaps, secure even the feeble patronage 
we experience, if they were not preceded by some 
feats of agility or strength.' 

' You have never appealed to a higher class of 
audience ?' 

'No; my father was a posture-master, as his father 
was before him. These arts are traditionary in our 
family, and I care not to say for what length of time 
and from what distant countries we believe them 
to have been received by us. My father died 
by a fall from a tight rope in the midst of a grand 



TANCRED 207 

illumination at Florence, and left me a youth. I 
count now only sixty-and-thirty summers. I married, 
as soon as I could, a dancer at Milan. We had no 
capital, but our united talents found success. We 
loved our children; it was necessary to act with deci- 
sion, or we should have been separated and trampled 
into the mud. Then I devised this house and wan- 
dering life, and we exist in general as you see us. 
In the winter, if our funds permit it, we reside in 
some city, where we educate our children in the arts 
which they pursue. The mother can still dance, sings 
prettily, and has some knowledge of music. For my- 
self, 1 can play in some fashion upon every instru- 
ment, and have almost taught them as much; I can 
paint, too, a scene, compose a group, and with the 
aid of my portfolio of prints, have picked up more 
knowledge of the costume of different centuries than 
you would imagine. If you see Josephine to-night in 
the Maid of Orleans you would perhaps be surprised. 
A great judge, like yourself a real artist, once told 
me at Bruxelles, that the grand opera could not pro- 
duce its equal.' 

'I can credit it,' said Sidonia, 'for I perceive in 
Josephine, as well as indeed in all your children, a 
rare abihty.' 

'I will be frank,' said Baroni, looking at Sidonia 
very earnestly, and laying down his clarionet. ' I 
conclude from what you said last night, and the in- 
terest that you take in the children, that you are 
something in our way, though on a great scale. I 
apprehend you are looking out for novelties for the 
next season, and sometimes in the provinces things 
are to be found. If you will take us to London or 
Paris, I will consent to receive no remuneration if the 



2o8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

venture foil; all I shall then require will be a decent 
maintenance, which you can calculate beforehand: if 
the speculation answer, I will not demand more than 
a third of the profits, leaving it to your own liberality 
to make me any regalo in addition, that you think 
proper.' 

'A very fair proposal,' said Sidonia. 

* Is it a bargain ?' 

'I must think over it,' said Sidonia. 

'Well; God prosper your thoughts, for, from what 
I see of you, you are a man 1 shou.'d be proud to 
work with.' 

'Well, we may yet be comrades.' 

The children appeared at the door of the house, 
and, not to disturb their father, vaulted down. They 
saluted Sidonia with much respect, and then with- 
drew to some distance. The mother appeared at the 
door, and, leaning down, whispered something to 
Baroni, who, after a little hesitation, said to Sidonia, 
'The grandmother is awake; she has a wish to thank 
you for your kindness to the children. It will not 
trouble you; merely a word; but women have their 
fancies, and we like always to gratify her, because 
she is much alone and never complains,' 

'By all means,' said Sidonia. 

Whereupon they ushered forward a venerable 
woman with a true Italian f^ice; hair white as snow, 
and eyes still glittering with fire, with features like 
a Roman bust, and an olive complexion. Sidonia ad- 
dressed her in Italian, which greatly pleased her. 
She was profuse, even solemn, in her thanks to him; 
she added, she was sure, from all that she had heard 
of him, if he took the children with him, he would 
be kind to them. 



TANCRED 209 

'She has overheard something I said to my wife,' 
said Baroni, a Uttle embarrassed. 

'I am sure I should be kind to them,' said Sidonia, 
'for many reasons, and particularly for one;' and he 
whispered something in Baroni's ear. 

Baroni started from his seat with a glowing cheek, 
but Sidonia, looking at his watch and promising to 
attend their evening performance, bade them adieu. 



The performances were more meagrely attended 
this evening than even on the preceding one, but had 
they been conducted in the royal theatre of a capital, 
they could not have been more elaborate, nor the 
troupe have exerted themselves with greater order and 
effect. It mattered not a jot to them whether their 
benches were thronged or vacant; the only audience 
for whom the Baroni family cared was the foreign 
manager, young, generous, and speculative, whom 
they had evidently without intention already pleased, 
and whose good opinion they resolved to-night en- 
tirely to secure. And in this they perfectly succeeded. 
Josephine was a tragic muse; all of them, even to 
little Carlotta, performed as if their destiny depended 
on the die. Baroni would not permit the children's 
box to be carried round to-night, as he thought it an 
unfair tax on the generous stranger, whom he did 
not the less please by this well-bred abstinence. As 
for the mediaeval and historic groups, Sidonia could 
recall nothing equal to them; and what surprised him 
most was the effect produced by such miserable ma- 
terials. It seemed that the whole was effected with 

16 B. D.— 14 



2IO BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

some stiffened linen and paper; but the divine touch 
of art turned everything to gold. One statue of 
Henri IV. with his flowing plume, and his rich ro- 
mantic dress, was quite striking. It was the very 
plume that had won at Ivry, and yet was nothing 
more than a sheet of paper cut and twisted by the 
plastic finger of little Alfred. 

There was to be no performance on the morrow; 
the niggard patronage of the town had been ex- 
hausted. Indeed, had it not been for Sidonia, the 
little domestic troupe would, ere this, have quitted the 
sullen town, where they had laboured so finely, and 
achieved such an ungracious return. On the morrow 
Baroni was to ride one of the fat horses over to 
Berg, a neighbouring town of some importance, 
where there was even a little theatre to be engaged, 
and if he obtained the permission of the mayor, and 
could make fair terms, he proposed to give there a 
series of representations. The mother was to stay at 
home and take care of the grandmother; but the chil- 
dren, all the children, were to have a holiday, and 
to dine with Sidonia at his hotel. 

It would have been quite impossible for the most 
respectable burgher, even of the grand place of a 
Flemish city, to have sent his children on a visit in 
trim more neat, proper, and decorous, than that in 
which the Baroni family figured on the morrow, 
when they went to pay their respects to their patron. 
The girls were in clean white frocks with little black 
silk jackets, their hair beautifully tied and plaited, and 
their heads uncovered, according to the fashion of the 
country: not an ornament or symptom of tawdry 
taste was visible; not even a necklace, although they 
necessarily passed their lives in fanciful or grotesque 



TANCRED 211 

attire; the boys, in foraging caps all of the same 
fashion, were dressed in blouses of holland, with 
bands and buckles, their broad shirt collars thrown 
over their shoulders. It is astonishing, as Baroni said, 
what order and discipline will do; but how that 
wonderful house upon wheels contrived to contain all 
these articles of dress, from the uniform of the mar- 
shal of France to the diminutive blouse of little 
Michel, and how their wearers always managed to 
issue from it as if they came forth from the most 
commodious and amply-furnished mansion, was truly 
yet pleasingly perplexing. Sidonia took them all in 
a large landau to see a famous chateau a few miles 
off, full of pictures and rich old furniture, and built 
in famous gardens. This excursion would have been 
delightful to them, if only from its novelty, but, as a 
substitute for their daily progress through the town, 
it offered an additional gratification. 

The behaviour of these children greatly interested 
and pleased Sidonia. Their conduct to each other 
was invariably tender and affectionate: their carriage 
to him, though full of respect, never constrained, and 
touched by an engaging simplicity. Above all, in 
whatever they did or said, there was grace. They 
did nothing awkwardly; their voices were musical; 
they were merry without noise, and their hearts 
sparkled in their eyes. 

'I begin to suspect that these youthful vagabonds, 
struggling for life, have received a perfect education,' 
thought the ever-musing Sidonia, as he leaned back 
in the landau, and watched the group that he had 
made so happy. ' A sublime religious principle sus- 
tains their souls; a tender morality regulates their 
hves; and with the heart and the spirit thus devel- 



212 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

oped, they are brought up in the pursuit and produc- 
tion of the beautiful. It is the complete culture of 
philosophic dreams!' 



IV. 



The children had never sat down before to 
a regular dinner, and they told Sidonia so. Their 
confession added a zest to the repast. He gave them 
occasional instructions, and they listened as if they 
were receiving directions for a new performance. 
They were so quick and so tractable, that their prog- 
ress was rapid; and at the second course Josephine 
was instructing Michel, and Alfred guiding the rather 
helpless but always self-composed Carlotta. After 
dinner, while Sidonia helped them to sugar-plums, he 
without effort extracted from each their master wish. 
Josephine desired to be an actress, while Adele con- 
fessed that, though she sighed for the boards, her 
secret aspirations were for the grand opera. Carlotta 
thought the world was made to dance. 

'For my part,' said Francis, the eldest son, 'I 
have no wish to be idle; but there are two things 
which 1 have always desired: first, that I should 
travel; and, secondly, that nobody should ever know 
me.' 

'And what would Alfred wish to be.^' said Si- 
donia. 

' Indeed, sir, if it did not take me from my 
t>rothers and sisters, I should certainly wish to be a 
painter.' 

' Michel has not yet found out what he wishes,' 
said Sidonia. 



TANCRED 213 

*I wish to play upon the horn,' said Michel, with 
great determination. 

When Sidonia embraced them before their depar- 
ture, he gave each of the girls a French shawl; to 
Francis he gave a pair of English pistols, to guard 
him when he travelled; Alfred received a portfolio 
full of drawings of costume. It only arrived after 
dinner, for the town was too poor to supply anything 
good enough for the occasion, and Sidonia had sent 
a special messenger, the day before, for it to Lille. 
Michel was the guardian of a basket laden with good 
things, which he was to have the pleasure of dividing 
among the Baroni family. 'And if your papa come 
back to-night,' said Sidonia to Josephine, ' tell him I 
should like to have a word with him.' 



V. 

Sidonia had already commenced that habit which, 
during subsequent years, he has so constantly and 
successfully pursued, namely, of enlisting in his serv- 
ice all the rare talent which he found lying common 
and unappropriated in the great wilderness of the 
world, no matter if the object to which it would 
apply might not immediately be in sight. The con- 
juncture would arrive when it would be wanted. 
Thus he generally had ready the right person for the 
occasion; and, whatever might be the transaction, the 
human instrument was rarely wanting. Independent 
of the power and advantage which this system gave 
him, his abstract interest in intellect made the pursuit 
delightful to him. He liked to give ability of all 
kinds its scope. Nothing was more apt to make him 



214 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

melancholy, than to hear of persons of talents dying 
without having their chance. A failure is nothing; it 
may be deserved, or it may be remedied. In the 
first instance, it brings self-knowledge; in the second, 
it develops a new combination usually triumphant. 
But incapacity, from not having a chance of being 
capable, is a bitter lot, which Sidonia was ever ready 
to alleviate. 

The elder Baroni possessed Herculean strength, 
activity almost as remarkable, a practised courage, 
and a controlling mind. He was in the prime of 
manhood, and spoke several languages. He was a 
man, according to Sidonia's views, of high moral 
principle, entirely trustworthy. He was too valuable 
an instrument to allow to run to seed as the strolling 
manager of a caravan of tumblers; and it is not im- 
probable that Sidonia would have secured his serv- 
ices, even if he had not become acquainted with the 
Baroni family. But they charmed him. In every 
member of it he recognised character, and a predis- 
position which might even be genius. He re- 
solved that every one of them should have a chance. 

When therefore Baroni, wearied and a little dis- 
gusted with an unpromising journey, returned from 
Berg in the evening, and, in consequence of the mes- 
sage of his children, repaired instantly to the hotel of 
Sidonia, his astonishment was great when he found the 
manager converted into a millionaire, and that too the 
most celebrated in Europe. But no language can con- 
vey his wonder when he learnt the career that was 
proposed to him, and the fortunes that were carved 
out for his children. He himself was to repair, with 
all his family, except Josephine and her elder brother, 
at once to Vienna, where he was to be installed into 



TANCRED 215 

a post of great responsibility and emolument. He 
was made superintendent of the couriers of tiie house 
of Sidonia in that capital, and especially of those that 
conveyed treasure. Though his duties would entail 
frequent absences on him, he was to be master of a 
constant and complete establishment. Alfred was im- 
mediately to become a pupil of the Academy of 
Painters, and Carlotta of that of dancing; the talents 
of Michel were to be watched, and to be reported to 
Sidonia at fitting periods. As for Adele, she was 
consigned to a lady who had once been a celebrated 
prima donna, with whom she was to pursue her 
studies, although still residing under the paternal roof. 

'Josephine will repair to Paris at once with her 
brother,' said Sidonia. *My family will guard over 
her. She will enjoy her brother's society until I com- 
mence my travels. He will then accompany me.' 

It is nearly twenty years since these incidents oc- 
curred, and perhaps the reader may feel not altogether 
uninterested in the subsequent fate of the children of 
Baroni. Mademoiselle Josephine is at this moment 
the glory of the French stage; without any question 
the most admirable tragic actress since Clairon, and 
inferior not even to her. The spirit of French tragedy 
has risen from the imperial couch on which it had 
long slumbered since her appearance, at the same 
time classical and impassioned, at once charmed and 
commanded the most refined audience in Europe. 
Adele, under the name of Madame Baroni, is the 
acknowledged Queen of Song in London, Paris, Ber- 
lin, and St. Petersburg; while her younger sister, 
Carlotta Baroni, shares the triumphs, and equals the 
renown, of a Taglioni and a Cerito. At this moment, 
Madame Baroni performs to enthusiastic audiences in 



2i6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the first opera of her brother Michel, who promises 
to be the rival of Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn; all de- 
lightful intelligence to meet the ear of the soft-hearted 
Alfred, who is painting the new chambers of the 
Papal palace, a Cavaliere, decorated with many orders, 
and the restorer of the once famous Roman school. 

'Thus,' continued Baroni to Tancred, 'we have all 
succeeded in life because we fell across a great phi- 
losopher, who studied our predisposition. As for my- 
self, 1 told M. de Sidonia that I wished to travel and 
to be unknown, and so he made of me a secret 
agent.' 

' There is something most interesting,' said Tancred, 
' in this idea of a single family issuing from obscurity, 
and disseminating their genius through the world, 
charming mankind with so many spells. How fortu- 
nate for you all that Sidonia had so much feeling for 
genius! ' 

'And some feeling for his race,' said Baroni. 

' How ? ' said Tancred, startled. 

' You remember he whispered something in my 
father's ear?' 

'I remember.' 

'He spoke it in Hebrew, and he was understood.' 

'You do not mean that you, too, are Jews.^' 

'Pure Sephardim, in nature and in name.' 

' But your name surely is Italian ? ' 

'Good Arabic, my lord. Baroni; that is, the son 
of Aaron; the name of old clothesmen in London, 
and of caliphs at Bagdad.' 




CHAPTER XLI. 
The Mountains of Lebanon. 

OW do you like my forest?' asked 
Fakredeen of Tancred, as, while 
descending a range of the Leb- 
anon, an extensive valley opened 
before them, covered with oak 
trees, which clothed also, with their 
stout trunks, their wide-spreading branches, and their 
rich starry foliage, the opposite and undulating hills, 
one of which was crowned with a convent. ' It is 
the only oak forest in Syria. It will serve some day 
to build our fleet.' 

At Gaza, which they had reached by easy jour- 
neys, for Fakredeen was very considerate of the 
health of Tancred, whose wound had scarcely healed, 
and over whom he watched with a delicate solicitude 
which would have almost become a woman, the com- 
panions met Scheriff Effendi. The magic signature of 
Lord Montacute settled the long-vexed question of the 
five thousand muskets, and secured also ten thousand 
piastres for the commander of the escort to deliver to 
his chief. The children of Rechab, in convoy of the 
precious charge, certain cases of which were to be 

(217) 



2i8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

delivered to the great Sheikh, and the rest to be de- 
posited in indicated quarters of the Lebanon, here 
took leave of the Emir and his friend, and pursued 
their course to the north of Hebron and the Dead 
Sea, in the direction of the Hauraan, where they 
counted, if not on overtaking the great Sheikh, at 
least on the additional security which his neighbour- 
hood would ensure them. Their late companions re- 
mained at Gaza, awaiting Tancred's yacht, which 
Baroni fetched from the neighbouring Jaffa. A favour- 
able breeze soon carried them from Gaza to Beiroot, 
where they landed, and where Fakredeen had the po- 
litical pleasure of exhibiting his new and powerful 
ally, a prince, an English prince, the brother perhaps 
of a queen, unquestionably the owner of a splendid 
yacht, to the admiring eye of all his, at the same 
time, credulous and rapacious creditors. 

The air of the mountains invigorated Tancred. 
His eyes had rested so long on the ocean and the 
desert, that the effect produced on the nerves by the 
forms and colours of a more varied nature were alone 
reviving. 

There are regions more lofty than the glaciered 
crests of Lebanon; mountain scenery more sublime, 
perhaps even more beautiful: its peaks are not lost 
in the clouds like the mysterious Ararat; its forests 
are not as vast and strange as the towering Hima- 
laya; it has not the volcanic splendour of the glow- 
ing Andes; in lake and in cataract it must yield to 
the European Alps; but for life, vigorous, varied, and 
picturesque, there is no highland territory in the globe 
that can for a moment compare with the great chain 
of Syria. 



TANCRED 219 

Man has fled from the rich and servile plains, from 
the tyranny of the Turk and from Arabian rapine, to 
clothe the crag with vines, and rest under his fig tree 
on the mountain top. An ingenious spirit, unwearied 
industry, and a bland atmosphere have made a per- 
petual garden of the Syrian mountains. Their acclivi- 
ties sparkle with terraces of corn and fruit. Castle 
and convent crown their nobler heights, and flat- 
roofed villages nestle amid groves of mulberry trees. 
Among these mountains we find several human races, 
several forms of government, and several schemes of 
religion, yet everywhere liberty: a proud, feudal aris- 
tocracy; a conventual establishment, which in its 
ramifications recalls the middle ages; a free and armed 
peasantry, whatever their creed. Emirs on Arabian 
steeds, bishops worthy of the Apostles, the Maronite 
monk, the horned head-gear of the Druses. 

Some of those beautiful horses, for which Fakre- 
deen was celebrated, had awaited the travellers at 
Beiroot. The journey through the mountain was to 
last three days before they reached Canobia, They 
halted one night at a mountain village, where the 
young Emir was received with enthusiastic devotion, 
and on the next at a small castle belonging to Fakre- 
deen, and where resided one of his kinsmen. Two 
hours before sunset, on the third day, they were en- 
tering the oak forest to which we referred, and 
through whose glades they journeyed for about half 
an hour. On arriving at the convent-crowned height 
opposite, they beheld an expanse of country; a small 
plain amid the mountains; in many parts richly culti- 
vated, studded by several hamlets, and watered by a 
stream, winding amid rich shrubberies of oleander. 



110 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Almost in the middle of this plain, on a height su- 
perior to the immediate elevations which bounded 
it, rose a mountain of gradual ascent, covered with 
sycamores, and crowned by a superb Saracenic cas- 
tle. 

'Canobia!' said Fakredeen to Tancred, 'which I 
hope you never will quit.' 

'It would be difficult,' rejoined Tancred, animated. 
'I have seldom seen a sight more striking and more 
beautiful.' 

In the meantime. Freeman and Trueman, who were 
far in the rear amid Fakredeen's attendants, exchanged 
congratulating glances of blended surprise and appro- 
bation. 

'This is the first gentleman's seat I have seen since 
we left England,' said Freeman. 

'There must have been a fine coming of age here,' 
rejoined Trueman. 

'As for that,' replied Freeman, 'comings of age 
depend in a manner upon meat and drink. They ain't 
in noways to be carried out with coffee and pipes. 
Without oxen roasted whole, and broached hogsheads, 
they ain't in a manner legal.' 

A horseman, who was ahead of the Emir and Tan- 
cred, now began beating with a stick on two small 
tabors, one on each side of his saddle, and thus an- 
nounced to those who were already on the watch, 
the approach of their lord. It was some time, how- 
ever, before the road, winding through the sycamore 
trees and gradually ascending, brought them to the 
outworks of the castle, of which, during their progress, 
they enjoyed a variety of views. It was a very ex- 
tensive pile, in excellent condition, and apparently 
strongly fortified. A number of men, in showy dresses 



TANCRED 221 

and with ornamented arms, were clustered round the 
embattled gateway, which introduced the travellers 
into a quadrangle of considerable size, and of which 
the light and airy style pleasingly and suitably con- 
trasted with the sterner and more massive character 
of the exterior walls. A fountain rose in the centre 
of the quadrangle which was surrounded by arcades. 
Ranged round this fountain, in a circle, were twenty 
saddled steeds of the highest race, each held by a 
groom, and each attended by a man-at-arms. All 
pressed their hands to their hearts as the Emir entered, 
but with a gravity of countenance which was never 
for a moment disturbed. Whether their presence were 
habitual, or only for the occasion, it was unquestion- 
ably impressive. Here the travellers dismounted, and 
Fakredeen ushered Tancred through a variety of sa- 
loons, of which the furniture, though simple, as be- 
comes the East, was luxurious, and, of its kind, 
superb; floors of mosaic marbles, bright carpets, ara- 
besque ceilings, walls of carved cedar, and broad 
divans of the richest stuffs of Damascus. 

'And this divan is for you,' said Fakredeen, show- 
ing Tancred into a chamber, which opened upon a 
flower-garden shaded by lemon trees. 'I am proud 
of my mirror,* he added, with some exultation, as he 
called Tancred's attention to a large French looking- 
glass, the only one in Lebanon. 'And this,' added 
Fakredeen, leading Tancred through a suite of marble 
chambers, 'this is your bath.' 

In the centre of one chamber, fed by a perpetual 
fountain, was a large alabaster basin, the edges of 
which were strewn with flowers just culled. The 
chamber was entirely of porcelain; a golden flower 
on a ground of delicate green. 



222 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



'I will send your people to you,' said Fakredeen; 
'but, in the meantime, there are attendants here who 
are, perhaps, more used to the duty;' and, so saying, 
he clapped his hands, and several servants appeared, 
bearing baskets of curious linen, whiter than the snow 
of Lebanon, and a variety of robes. 




CHAPTER XLII 




Strange Ceremonies. 

HAS been long decreed that no 
poet may introduce the Phoenix. 
Scylla and Charybdis are both suc- 
cessfully avoided even by provin- 
cial rhetoric. The performance of 
Hamlet with the part of Hamlet 
omitted, and Mahomet's unhappy coffin, these are illus- 
trations that have long been the prerogative of dolts 
and dullards. It is not for a moment to be tolerated 
that an oasis should be met with anywhere except in 
the desert. 

We sadly lack a new stock of public images. 
The current similes, if not absolutely counterfeit, are 
quite worn out. They have no intrinsic value, and 
serve only as counters to represent the absence of 
ideas. The critics should really call them in. In the 
good old days, when the superscription was fresh, 
and the mint mark bright upon the metal, we should 
have compared the friendship of two young men to 
that of Damon and Pythias. These were individuals 
then still well known in polite society. If their ex- 
amples have ceased to influence, it cannot be pre- 
tended that the extinction of their authority has been 

(223) 



224 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the consequence of competition. Our enlightened age 
has not produced them any rivals. 

Of all the differences between the ancients and 
ourselves, none more striking than our respective ideas 
of friendship. Grecian friendship was indeed so 
ethereal, that it is difficult to define its essential quali- 
ties. They must be sought rather in the pages of 
Plato, or the moral essays of Plutarch perhaps, and 
in some other books not quite as well known, but 
not less interesting and curious. As for modern 
friendship, it will be found in clubSo It is violent at 
a house dinner, fervent in a cigar shop, full of devo- 
tion at a cricket or a pigeon-match, or in the gath- 
ering of a steeple-chase. The nineteenth century is 
not entirely sceptical on the head of friendship, but 
fears 'tis rare. A man may have friends, but then, 
are they sincere ones? Do not they abuse you behind 
your back, and blackball you at societies where they 
have had the honour to propose you ? It might philo- 
sophically be suggested that it is more agreeable to be 
abused behind one's back than to one's face; and, as 
for the second catastrophe, it should not be forgotten 
that if the sincere friend may occasionally put a suc- 
cessful veto on your election, he is always ready to 
propose you again. Generally speaking, among sen- 
sible persons it would seem that a rich man deems 
that friend a sincere one who does not want to bor- 
row his money; while, among the less favoured with 
fortune's gifts, the sincere friend is generally esteemed 
to be the individual who is ready to lend it. 

As we must not compare Tancred and Fakredeen 
to Damon and Pythias, and as we cannot easily find 
in Pall Mall or Park Lane a parallel more modish, we 
must be content to say, that youth, sympathy, and 



TANCRED 225 

occasion combined to create between them that inti- 
macy which each was prompt to recognise as one of 
the principal sources of his happiness, and which the 
young Emir, at any rate, was persuaded must be as 
lasting as it was fervent and profound. 

Fakredeen was seen to great advantage among his 
mountains. He was an object of universal regard, 
and, anxious to maintain the repute of which he was 
proud, and which was to be the basis of his future 
power, it seemed that he was always in a gracious 
and engaging position. Brilliant, sumptuous, and hos- 
pitable, always doing something kind, or saying 
something that pleased, the Emirs and Sheikhs, both 
Maronite and Druse, were proud of the princely scion 
of their greatest house, and hastened to repair to Ca- 
nobia, where they were welcome to ride any of his 
two hundred steeds, feast on his flocks, quaff his 
golden wine of Lebanon, or smoke the delicate tobac- 
cos of his celebrated slopes. 

As for Tancred, his life was novel, interesting, 
and exciting. The mountain breezes soon restored 
his habitual health; his wound entirely healed; each 
day brought new scenes, new objects, new characters; 
and there was ever at his side a captivating com- 
panion, who lent additional interest to all he saw 
and heard by perpetually dwelling on the great 
drama which they were preparing, and in which all 
these personages and circumstances were to perform 
their part and advance their purpose. 

At this moment Fakredeen proposed to himself 
two objects: the first was, to bring together the 
principal chiefs of the mountain, both Maronite 
and Druse, and virtually to carry into effect at Ca- 
nobia that reconciliation between the two races 

16 B. D.— 15 



226 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

which had been formally effected at Beiroot, in the 
preceding month of June, by the diplomatic inter- 
ference of the Great Powers, and through the signa- 
ture of certain articles of peace to which we have 
alluded. His second object was to increase his al- 
ready considerable influence with these personages, 
by exhibiting to them, as his guest and familiar 
friend, an English prince, whose presence could only 
be accounted for by duties too grave for ordinary 
envoys, and who was understood to represent, in 
their fullest sense, the wealth and authority of the 
richest and most potent of nations. 

The credulous air of Syria was favourable to the 
great mystification in which Lord Montacute was an 
unconscious agent. It was as fully believed in the 
mountain, by all the Habeishes and the Eldadahs, the 
Kazins and the Elvasuds, the Elheires, and the Hai- 
dars, great Maronite families, as well as by the Druse 
Djinblats and their rivals, the House of Yezbeck, or 
the House of Talhook, or the House of Abuneked, 
that the brother of the Queen of England was a 
guest at Canobia as it was in the stony wilderness of 
Petraea. Ahmet Raslan the Druse and Butros Kerau- 
ney the Maronite, who agreed upon no other point, 
were resolved on this. And was it wonderful, for 
Butros had already received privately two hundred 
muskets since the arrival of Tancred, and Raslan had 
been promised in confidence a slice of the impending 
English loan by Fakredeen ? 

The extraordinary attention, almost homage, which 
the Emir paid his guest entirely authorised these 
convictions, although they could justify no suspicion 
on the part of Tancred. The natural simplicity of 
his manners, indeed, and his constitutional reserve. 



TANCRED 227 

recoiled from the state and ceremony with which he 
found himself frequently surrounded and too often 
treated; but Fakredeen peremptorily stopped his re- 
monstrances by assuring him that it was the custom 
of the country, and that every one present would be 
offended if a guest of distinction were not entertained 
with this extreme respect. It is impossible to argue 
against the customs of a country with which you are 
not acquainted, but coming home one day from a 
hawking party, a large assembly of the most influ- 
ential chieftains, Fakredeen himself bounding on a 
Kochlani steed, and arrayed in a dress that would 
have become Solyman the Magnificent, Tancred about 
to dismount, the Lord of Canobia pushed forward, 
and, springing from his saddle, insisted on holding 
the stirrup of Lord Montacute. 

'I cannot permit this,' said Tancred, reddening, 
and keeping his seat. 

' If you do not, there is not a man here who will 
not take it as a personal insult,' said the Emir, speak- 
ing rapidly between his teeth, yet affecting to smile. 
' It has been the custom of the mountain for more 
than seven hundred years.' 

'Very strange,' thought Tancred, as he complied 
and dismounted. 

All Syria, from Gaza to the Euphrates, is feudal. 
The system, generally prevalent, flourishes in the 
mountain region even with intenseness. An attempt 
to destroy feudalism occasioned the revolt against the 
Egyptians in 1840, and drove Mehemet Ali from the 
country which had cost him so much blood and 
treasure. Every disorder that has subsequently oc- 
curred in Syria since the Turkish restoration may 
be traced to some officious interposition or hostile 



228 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

encroachment in this respect. The lands of Lebanon 
are divided into fifteen Mookatas, or feudal provinces, 
and the rights of the mookatadgis, or landlords, in 
these provinces, are power of punishment not extend- 
ing to death, service in war, and labour in peace, 
and the collection of the imperial revenue from the 
population, who are in fact their vassals, on which 
they receive a percentage from the Porte. The ad- 
ministration of police, of the revenue, and indeed the 
whole internal government of Lebanon, are in the 
hands of the mookatadgis, or rather of the most 
powerful individuals of this class, who bear the titles 
of Emirs and Sheikhs, some of whom are proprietors 
to a very great extent, and many of whom, in point 
of race and antiquity of established family, are su- 
perior to the aristocracy of Europe. 

There is no doubt that the founders of this privi- 
leged and territorial class, whatever may be the pres- 
ent creeds of its members, Moslemin, Maronite, or 
Druse, were the old Arabian conquerors of Syria. 
The Turks, conquerors in their turn, have succeeded 
in some degree in the plain to the estates and im- 
munities of the followers of the first caliphs; but the 
Ottomans never substantially prevailed in the High- 
lands, and their authority has been recognised mainly 
by management, and as a convenient compromise 
amid the rivalries of so many local ambitions. 

Always conspicuous among the great families of 
the Lebanon, during the last century and a half pre- 
eminent, has been the House of Shehaab, possessing 
entirely one of the provinces, and widely disseminated 
and powerfully endowed in several of the others. 
Since the commencement of the eighteenth century, 
the virtual sovereignty of the country has been exer- 



TANCRED 229 

cised by a prince of this family, under the title of 
Chief Emir. The chiefs of all the different races have 
kissed the hand of a Shehaab; he had the power of 
life and death, could proclaim war and confer honours. 
Of all this family, none were so supreme as the Emir 
Bescheer, who governed Lebanon during the Egyptian 
invasion, and to whose subdolous career and its conse- 
quences we have already referred. When the Turks 
triumphed in 1840, the Emir Bescheer was deposed, 
and with his sons sent prisoner to Constantinople. 
The Porte, warned at that time by the too easy in- 
vasion of Syria and the imminent peril which it had 
escaped, wished itself to assume the government of 
Lebanon, and to garrison the passes with its troops; 
but the Christian Powers would not consent to this 
proposition, and therefore Kassim Shehaab was called 
to the Chief Emirate. Acted upon by the patriarch 
of the Maronites, Kassim, who was a Christian She- 
haab, countenanced the attempts of his holiness to 
destroy the feudal privileges of the Druse mookatad- 
gis, while those of the Maronites were to be retained. 
This produced the civil war of 1841 in Lebanon, 
which so perplexed and scandalised England, and 
which was triumphantly appealed to by France as 
indubitable evidence of the weakness and unpopularity 
of the Turks, and the fruitlessness of our previous in- 
terference. The Turks had as little to do with it as 
M. Guizot or Lord Palmerston; but so limited is our 
knowledge upon these subjects that the cry was suc- 
cessful, and many who had warmly supported the 
English minister during the previous year, and proba- 
bly in equal ignorance of the real merits of the ques- 
tion, began now to shake their heads and fear that 
we had perhaps been too precipitate. 



230 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The Porte adroitly took advantage of the general 
anarchy to enforce the expediency of its original prop- 
osition, to which the Great Powers, however, would 
not assent. Kassim was deposed, after a reign of a 
few months, amid burning villages and their slaugh- 
tered inhabitants; and, as the Porte was resolved not 
to try another Shehaab, and the Great Powers were 
resolved not to trust the Porte, diplomacy was obliged 
again to interfere, and undertake to provide Lebanon 
with a government. 

It was the interest of two parties, whose co- 
operation was highly essential to the settlement of 
this question, to prevent the desired adjustment, and 
these were the Turkish government and the family of 
Shehaab and their numerous adherents. Anarchy was 
an argument in the mouth of each, that the Lebanon 
must be governed by the Porte, or that there never 
could be tranquillity without a Shehaab prince. The 
Porte in general contented itself with being passive 
and watching the fray, while the agents of the Great 
Powers planned and promulgated their scheme of 
polity. The Shehaabs were more active, and their 
efforts were greatly assisted by the European project 
which was announced. 

The principal feature of this administrative design 
was the institution of two governors of Lebanon, 
called Caimacams, one of whom was to be a Maro- 
nite and govern the Maronites, and the other a Druse 
and govern his fellow-countrymen. Superficially, this 
seemed fair enough, but reduced into practice the ma- 
chinery would not work. For instance, the popula- 
tions in many places were blended. Was a Druse 
Caimacam to govern the Christians in his district? 
Was the government of the two Caimacams to be 



TANCRED 231 

sectarian or geographical? Should the Christian Cai- 
macam govern all the Christians, and the Druse Caima- 
cam govern all the Druses of the Lebanon ? Or should 
the Christian Caimacam govern the Christian Mook- 
atas, as well as such Druses as lived mixed with the 
Christians in the Christian Mookatas, and the Druse 
Caimacam in the Druse country exercise the same 
rights ? 

Hence arose the terms of mixed Druses and mixed 
Christians; mixed Druses meaning Druses living in 
the Christian country, and mixed Christians those 
living in the Druse country. Such was the origin of 
the mixed population question, which entirely upset 
the project of Downing Street; happy spot, where 
they draw up constitutions for Syria and treaties for 
China with the same self-complacency and the same 
success! 

Downing Street (1842) decided upon the sectarian 
government of the Lebanon. It was simple, and 
probably satisfactory, to Exeter Hall; but Downing 
Street was quite unaware, or had quite forgotten, 
that the feudal system prevailed throughout Lebanon. 
The Christians in the Druse districts were vassals of 
Druse lords. The direct rule of a Christian Caimacam 
was an infringement on all the feudal rights of the 
Djinblats and Yezbecks, of the Talhooks and the 
Abdel-Maleks. It would be equally fatal to the feudal 
rights of the Christian chiefs, the Kazins and the El- 
dadahs, the Elheires and the EI Dahers, as regarded 
their Druse tenantry, unless the impossible plan of 
the patriarch of the Maronites, which had already 
produced a civil war, had been adopted. Diplomacy, 
therefore, seemed on the point of at length succeed- 
ing in uniting the whole population of Lebanon in 



232 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

one harmonious action, but unfortunately against its 
own project. 

The Shehaab party availed themselves of these 
circumstances with great dexterity and vigour. The 
party was powerful. The whole of the Maronites, a 
population of more than 150,000, were enrolled in 
their ranks. The Emir Bescheer was of their faith; 
so was the unfortunate Kassim, True, there were 
several Shehaab princes who were Moslemin, but they 
might become Christians, and they were not Druses, 
at least only two or three of them. The Maronite 
clergy exercised an unquestioned influence over their 
flocks. It was powerfully organised: a patriarch, 
numerous monasteries, nine prelates, and an active 
country priesthood. 

Previously to the civil war of 1841, the feeling of 
the Druses had been universally in favour of the She- 
haabs. The peril in which feudalism was placed re- 
vived their ancient sentiments, A Shehaab committee 
was appointed, with perpetual sittings at Deir el 
Kamar, the most considerable place in the Lebanon; 
and, although it was chiefly composed of Christians, 
there were several Druses at least in correspondence 
with it. But the most remarkable institution which 
occurred about this time (1844) was that of 'Young 
Syria,' It flourishes: in every town and village of 
Lebanon there is a band of youth who acknowledge 
the title, and who profess nationality as their object, 
though, behind that plea, the restoration of the House 
of Shehaab generally peeps out. 

Downing Street, frightened, gave up sectarian 
diplomacy, and announced the adoption of the geo- 
graphical principle of government. The Druses, now 
that their feudal privileges were secured, cooled in 



TANCRED 232 

their ardour for nationality. The Shehaabs, on the 
other hand, finding that the Druses were not to be 
depended on, changed their note. ' Is it to be toler- 
ated for a moment, that a Christian should be gov- 
erned by a Druse ? Were it a Moslem, one might 
bear it; these things will happen; but a Druse, who 
adores a golden calf, worshippers of Eblis! One 
might as well be governed by a Jew.' 

The Maronite patriarch sent 200,000 piastres to his 
children to buy arms; the superior of the convent of 
Maashmooshi forwarded little less, saying it was much 
better to spend their treasure in helping the Christians 
than in keeping it to be plundered by the Druses. 
Bishop Tubia gave his bond for a round sum, but 
afterwards recalled it; Bishop Joseph Djezini came 
into Sidon with his pockets full, and told the people 
that a prince of the House of Shehaab would soon be 
at their head, but explained on a subsequent occasion 
that he went thither merely to distribute charity. 

In this state of affairs, in May, 1845, the civil war 
broke out. The Christians attacked the Druses in 
several districts on the same day. The attack was 
unprovoked, and eventually unsuccessful. Twenty 
villages were seen burning at the same time from 
Beiroot. The Druses repulsed the Christians and 
punished them sharply; the Turkish troops, at the 
instigation of the European authorities, marched into 
the mountain and vigorously interfered. The Maronites 
did not show as much courage in the field as in the 
standing committee at Deir el Kamar, but several of 
the Shehaab princes who headed them, especially the 
Emir Kais, maintained the reputation of their house 
and displayed a brilliant courage. The Emir Fakre- 
deen was at Canobia at the time of the outbreak, 



234 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

which, as it often happens, though not unpremedi- 
tated, was unexpected. He marched to the scene of 
action at the head of his troops, and, when he found 
that Kais had been outflanked and repulsed, that the 
Maronites were disheartened in proportion to their 
previous vanity and insolence, and that the Turkish 
forces had interfered, he assumed the character of 
mediator. Taking advantage of the circumstances and 
the alarm of all parties at the conjuncture and its yet 
unascertained consequences, he obtained for the Mar- 
onites a long-promised indemnity from the Porte for 
the ravages of the Druses in the civil war of 1841, 
which the Druses had been unable to pay, on condi- 
tion that they should accept the geographical scheme 
of government; and, having signed, with other Emirs 
and Sheikhs, the ten articles of peace, he departed, as 
we have seen, on that visit to Jerusalem which ex- 
ercised such control over the career of Lord Monta- 
cute, and led to such strange results and such singular 
adventures. 





CHAPTER XLIII. 

Festivities in Canobia, 

ALLOPED up the winding steep of 
Canobia the Sheii<h Said Djinblat, 
one of the most popular chieftains 
of the Druses; amiable and brave, 
trustworthy and soft-mannered. 
Four of his cousins rode after him: 
he came from his castle of Mooktara, which was 
not distant. He was in the prime of manhood, tall 
and lithe; enveloped in a burnous which shrouded his 
dark eye, his white turban, and his gold-embroidered 
vests; his long lance was couched in its rest, as he 
galloped up the winding steep of Canobia. 

Came slowly, on steeds dark as night, up the 
winding steep of Canobia, with a company of twenty 
men on foot armed with muskets and handjars, the 
two ferocious brothers Abuneked, Nasif and Hamood. 
Pale is the cheek of the daughters of Maron at 
the fell name of Abuneked. The Abunekeds were the 
Druse lords of the town of Deir el Kamar, where the 
majority of the inhabitants were Christian. When 
the patriarch tried to deprive the Druses of their feu- 
dal rights, the Abunekeds attacked and sacked their own 

(235) 



236 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

town of Deir el Kamar. The civil war being termi- 
nated, and it being agreed, in the settlement of the 
indemnities from the Druses to the Maronites, that 
all plunder still in possession of the plunderers 
should be restored, Nasif Abuneked said, ' 1 have five 
hundred silver horns, and each of them 1 took from 
the head of a Christian woman. Come and fetch 
them,' 

But all this is forgotten now; and least of all 
should it be remembered by the meek-looking indi- 
vidual who is at this moment about to ascend the 
winding steep of Canobia. Riding on a mule, clad 
in a coarse brown woollen dress, in Italy or Spain 
we should esteem him a smiple Capuchin, but in 
truth he is a prelate, and a prelate of great power; 
Bishop Nicodemus, to wit, prime councillor of the 
patriarch, and chief prompter of those measures that 
occasioned the civil war of 184 1. A single sacristan 
walks behind him, his only retinue, and befitting his 
limited resources; but the Maronite prelate is recom- 
pensed by universal respect; his vanity is perpetually 
gratified, and, when he appears, Sheikh and peasant 
are alike proud to kiss the hand which his reverence 
is ever prompt to extend. 

Placed on a more eminent stage, and called upon 
to control larger circumstances, Bishop Nicodemus 
might have rivalled the Bishop of Autun; so fertile 
was he in resource, and so intuitive was his knowl- 
edge of men. As it was, he wasted his genius in 
mountain squabbles, and in regulating the discipline 
of his little church; suspending priests, interdicting 
monks, and inflicting public penance on the laity. 
He rather resembled De Retz than Talleyrand, for he 
was naturally turbulent and intriguing. He could 



TANCRED 237 

under no circumstances let well alone. He was 
a thorough Syrian, at once subtle and imagina- 
tive. Attached to the House of Shehaab by policy, 
he was devoted to Fakredeen as much by sympathy 
as interest, and had contrived the secret mission of 
Archbishop Murad to Europe, which had so much 
perplexed M. Guizot, Lord Cowley, and Lord Aber- 
deen; and which finally, by the intervention of the 
same Bishop Nicodemus, Fakredeen had disowned. 

Came caracoling up the winding steep of Canobia 
a troop of horsemen, showily attired, and riding 
steeds that danced in the sunny air. These were the 
princes Kais and Abdullah Shehaab, and Francis El 
Kazin, whom the Levantines called Caseno, and the 
principal members of the Young Syria party; some of 
them beardless Sheikhs, but all choicely mounted, and 
each holding on his wrist a falcon; for this was the 
first day of the year that they might fly. But those 
who cared not to seek a quarry in the partridge or 
the gazelle, might find the wild boar or track the 
panther in the spacious woods of Canobia. 

And the Druse chief of the House of Djezbek, who 
for five hundred years had never yielded precedence 
to the House of Djinblat, and Sheikh Fahour Kange, 
who since the civil war had never smoked a pipe 
with a Maronite, but who now gave the salaam of 
peace to the crowds of Habeishs and Dahdahes who 
passed by; and Butros Keramy, the nephew of the 
patriarch, himself a great Sheikh, who inhaled his 
nargileh as he rode, and who looked to the skies and 
puffed forth his smoke whenever he met a son of 
Eblis; and the House of Talhook, and the House of 
Abdel-Malek and a swarm of Elvasuds, and Elheires, 
and El Dahers. Emirs and Sheikhs on their bounding 



238 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

steeds, and musketeers on foot, with their light jack- 
ets and bare legs and wooden sandals, and black 
slaves, carrying vases and tubes; everywhere a bril- 
liant and animated multitude, and all mounting the 
winding steep of Canobia. 

The great court of the castle was crowded with 
men and horses, and fifty mouths at once were drink- 
ing at the central basin; the arcades were full of 
Sheikhs, smoking and squatted on their carpets, which 
in general they had spread in this locality in prefer- 
ence to the more formal saloons, whose splendid di- 
vans rather embarrassed them; though even these 
chambers were well attended, the guests principally 
seated on the marble floors covered with their small 
bright carpets. The domain immediately around the 
castle was also crowded with human beings. The 
moment anyone arrived, his steed was stabled or 
picketed; his attendants spread his carpet, sought food 
for him, which was promptly furnished, with coffee 
and sherbets, and occasionally wine; and when he 
had sufficiently refreshed himself, he lighted his nar- 
gileh. Everywhere there was a murmur, but no up- 
roar; a stir, but no tumult. And what was most 
remarkable amid these spears and sabres, these muskets, 
handjars, and poniards, was the sweet and perpetually 
recurring Syrian salutation of * Peace.' 

Fakredeen, moving about in an immense turban, of 
the most national and unreformed style, and covered 
with costly shawls and arms flaming with jewels, 
recognised and welcomed everyone. He accosted 
Druse and Maronite with equal cordiality, talked much 
with Said Djinblat, whom he specially wished to 
gain, and lent one of his choicest steeds to the 
Djezbek, that he might not be offended. The Tal- 



TANCRED 



^39 



hook and the Abdel-Malek could not be jealous of 
the Habeish and the Eldadah. He kissed the hand 
of Bishop Nicodemus, but then he sent his own 
nargileh to the Emir Ahmet Raslan, who was Caima- 
cam of the Druses. 

In this strange and splendid scene, Tancred, 
dressed in a velvet shooting-jacket built in St. James' 
Street and a wide-awake which had been purchased 
at Bellamont market, and leaning on a rifle which was 
the masterpiece of Purday, was not perhaps the least 
interesting personage. The Emirs and Sheikhs, not- 
withstanding the powers of dissimulation for which 
the Orientals are renowned, their habits of self-restraint, 
and their rooted principle never to seem surprised 
about anything, have a weakness in respect to arms. 
After eyeing Tancred for a considerable time with 
imperturbable countenances, Francis El Kazin sent to 
Fakredeen to know whether the English prince would 
favour them by shooting an eagle. This broke the 
ice, and Fakredeen came, and soon the rifle was in 
the hands of Francis El Kazin. Sheikh Said Djinblat, 
who would have died rather than have noticed the 
rifle in the hands of Tancred, could not resist ex- 
amining it when in the possession of a brother 
Sheikh. Kais Shehaab, several Habeishes and Elda- 
dahs gathered round; exclamations of wonder and 
admiration arose; sundry asseverations that God was 
great followed. 

Freeman and Trueman, who were at hand, were 
summoned to show their lord's double-barrelled gun, 
and his pistols with hair-triggers. This they did, 
with that stupid composure and dogged conceit which 
distinguish English servants in situations which must 
elicit from all other persons some ebullition of feeling. 



24© BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Exchanging between themselves ghmces of contempt 
at the lords of Lebanon, who were ignorant of what 
everybody knows, they exhibited the arms without 
the slightest interest or anxiety to make the Sheikhs 
comprehend them; till Tancred, mortified at their 
brutality, himself interfered, and, having already no 
inconsiderable knowledge of the language of the coun- 
try, though, from his reserve, Fakredeen little sus- 
pected the extent of his acquirements, explained 
felicitously to his companions the process of the arms; 
and then taking his rifle, and stepping out upon the 
terrace, he levelled his piece at a heron which was 
soaring at a distance of upwards of one hundred 
yards, and brought the bird down amid the applause 
both of Maronite and Druse. 

'He is sent here, 1 understand,' said Butros Ker- 
amy, ' to ascertain for the Queen of the English 
whether the country is in favour of the Shehaabs. 
Could you believe it, but I was told yesterday at 
Deir el Kamar, that the English consul has persuaded 
the Queen that even the patriarch was against the 
Shehaabs?' 

' Is it possible ? ' said Rafael Farah, a Maronite of 
the House of Eldadah. ' It must be the Druses who 
circulate these enormous falsehoods,' 

'Hush!' said Young Syria, in the shape of Francis 
El Kazin, 'there is no longer Maronite or Druse: we 
are all Syrians, we are brothers.' 

' Then a good many of my brothers are sons of 
Ebhs,' said Butros Keramy. 'I hope he is not my 
father.' 

' Truly, I should like to see the mountain without 
the Maronite nation,' said Rafael Farah. 'That would 
be a year without rain.' 



TANCRED 241 

'And mighty things your Maronite nation has 
done!' rejoined Francis El Kazin. * If there had been 
the Syrian nation instead of the Maronite nation, and 
the Druse nation, and half a dozen other nations be- 
sides, instead of being conquered by Egypt in 1832, 
we should have conquered Egypt ourselves long ago, 
and have held it for our farm. We have done mighty 
things truly with our Maronite nation!' 

' To hear an El Kazin speak against the Maronite 
nation!' exclaimed Rafael Farah, with a look of hor- 
ror; 'a nation that has two hundred convents!' 

'And a patriarch,' said Butros Keramy, 'very much 
respected even by the Pope of Rome.' 

'And who were disarmed like sheep,' said Fran- 
cis. 

'Not because we were beaten,' said Butros, who 
was brave enough. 

'We were persuaded to that,' said Rafael. 

'By our monks,' said Francis; 'the convents you 
are so proud of.' 

'They were deceived by sons of Eblis,' said Butros. 
' 1 never gave up my arms. I have some pieces now, 
that, although they are not as fine as those of the 
English prince, could pick a son of Eblis off behind 
a rock, whether he be Egyptian or Druse.' 

'Hush!' said Francis El Kazin. 'You love our 
host, Butros; these are not words that will please 
him ' 

'Or me, my children,' said Bishop Nicodemus. 
'This is a great day for Syria! to find the chiefs of 
both nations assembled at the castle of a Shehaab. 
Why am I here but to preach peace and love ? And 
Butros Keramy, my friend, my dearly beloved brother 
Butros, if you wish to please the patriarch, your 

10 B. D.— 16 



242 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

uncle, who loves you so well, you will no longer 
call Druses sons of Eblis.' 

' What are we to call them ? ' asked Rafael Farah, 
pettishly. 

'Brothers,' replied Bishop Nicodemus; 'misguided, 
but still brothers. This is not a moment for brawls, 
when the great Queen of the English has sent hither 
her own brother to witness the concord of the moun- 
tain.* 

Now arose the sound of tabors, beaten without 
any attempt at a tune, but with unremitting monot- 
ony, then the baying of many hounds more distant. 
There was a bustle. Many Sheikhs slowly rose; their 
followers rushed about; some looked at their musket 
locks, some poised their pikes and spears, some un- 
sheathed their handjars, examined their edge, and 
then returned them to their sheath. Those who were 
in the interior of the castle came crowding into the 
great court, which, in turn, poured forth its current 
of population into the table-land about the castle. 
Here, held by grooms, or picketed, were many steeds. 
The mares of the Emir Fakredeen were led about by 
his black slaves. Many of the Sheikhs, mounted, 
prepared for the pastime that awaited them. 

There was to be a grand chase in the oak forest, 
through part of which Tancred had already travelled, 
and which spread over a portion of the plain and the 
low hilly country that encompassed it. Three parties, 
respectively led by the Emir Fakredeen, and the 
Caimacams of the two nations, were to penetrate into 
this forest at different and distant points, so that the 
sport was spread over a surface of many miles. The 
heads of the great houses of both nations accompanied 
the Emir of Canobia; their relatives and followers, by 



TANCRED 243 

the exertions of Francis El Kazin and Young Syria, 
were in general so disturbed that the Maronites were 
under the command of the Emir Raslan, the Druse 
Caimacam, while the Druses followed the Emir Hai- 
dar. This great hunting party consisted of more than 
eight hundred persons, about half of whom were 
mounted, but all were armed; even those who held 
the dogs in leash were entitled to join in the sport 
with the same freedom as the proudest Sheikh. The 
three leaders having mounted and bowed gracefully to 
each other, the cavalcades separated and descended 
into the plain. The moment they reached the level 
country, the horsemen shouted and dispersed, gallop- 
ing in all directions, and many of them throwing their 
spears; but, in a short time, they had collected again 
under their respective leaders, and the three distinct 
bodies, each a moving and many-coloured mass, might 
be observed from the castled heights, each instant di- 
minishing in size and lustre, until they vanished at 
different points in the distance, and were lost amid 
the shades of the forest. 

For many hours throughout this region nothing 
was heard but the firing of guns, the baying of 
hounds, the shouting of men; not a human being was 
visible, except some groups of women in the villages, 
with veils suspended on immense silver horns, like 
our female headgear of the middle ages. By-and-by, 
figures were seen stealing forth from the forest, men 
on foot, one or two, then larger parties; some reposed 
on the plain, some returned to the villages, some re- 
ascended the winding steeps of Canobia. The firing, 
the shouting, the baying had become more occasional. 
Now a wearied horseman picked his slow way over 
the plain; then came forth a brighter company, still 



244 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

bounding along. And now they issued, but slowly 
and in small parties, from various and opposite quar- 
ters of the woodland. A great detachment, in a cer- 
tain order, were then observed to cross the plain, and 
approach the castle. They advanced very gradually, 
for most of them were on foot, and joining together, 
evidently carried burdens; they were preceded and 
followed by a guard of cavalry. Soon it might be 
perceived that the produce of the chase was arriving: 
twenty-five wild boars carried on litters of green 
branches; innumerable gazelles borne by their victors; 
transfixed by four spears, and carried by four men, a 
hyena. 

Not very long after this caravan had reached the 
castle, the firing, which had died away, recommenced; 
the sounds were near at hand; there was a volley, 
and almost simultaneously there issued from various 
parts of the forest the great body of the hunt. They 
maintained no order on their return, but dispersed 
over the plain, blending together, galloping their 
steeds, throwing their lances, and occasionally firing 
a shot. Fakredeen and his immediate friends rode up 
to the Caimacam of the Druses, and they offered each 
other mutual congratulations on the sport of the 
morning. They waited for the Caimacam of the 
Maronites, who, however, did not long detain them; 
and, when he appeared, their suites joined, and, can- 
tering off at a brisk pace, they soon mounted in com- 
pany the winding steeps of Canobia. 

The kitchen of Canobia was on a great scale, 
though simple as it was vast. It was formed for the 
occasion. About fifty square pits, some four feet in 
length, and about half as deep, had been dug on the 
table-land in the vicinity of the castle. At each corner 



TANCRED 245 

of each pit was a stake, and the four supported a 
rustic gridiron of green wood, suspended over each 
pit, which was filled with charcoal, and which yielded 
an equal and continuous heat to the animal reposing 
on the gridiron: in some instances a wild boar, in 
others a sheep — occasionally a couple of gazelles. 
The sheep had been skinned, for there had been time 
for the operation; but the game had only been split 
open, cleared out, and laid on its back, with its feet 
tied to each of the stakes, so as to retain its position. 
While this roasting was going on, they filled the 
stomachs of the animals with lemons gashed with their 
daggers, and bruised pomegranates, whose fragrant 
juice, uniting with the bubbling fat, produced an aro- 
matic and rosy gravy. The huntsmen were the cooks, 
but the greatest order was preserved; and though the 
Emirs and the great Sheikhs, heads of houses, retiring 
again to their divans, occupied themselves with their 
nargilehs, many a mookatadgi mixed with the servants 
and the slaves, and delighted in preparing this patri- 
archal banquet, which indeed befitted a castle and a 
forest. Within the walls they prepared rice, which 
they piled on brazen and pewter dishes, boiled gal- 
lons of coffee, and stewed the liver of the wild boars 
and the gazelles in the golden wine of Lebanon. 

The way they dined was this. Fakredeen had his 
carpet spread on the marble floor of his principal sa- 
loon, and the two Caimacams, Tancred and Bishop 
Nicodemus, Said Djinblat, the heads of the Houses of 
Djezbek, Talhook, and Abdel-Malek, Hamood Abune- 
ked, and five Maronite chieftains of equal considera- 
tion, the Emirs of the House of Shehaab, the Habeish, 
and the Eldadah, were invited to sit with him. 
Round the chamber which opened to the air, other 



246 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

chieftains were invited to spread tiieir carpets also; 
the centre was left clear. The rest of the Sheikhs 
and mookatadgis established themselves in small par- 
ties, grouped in the same fashion, in the great court 
and under the arcades, taking care to leave free 
egress and regress to the fountain. The retainers 
feasted, when all was over, in the open air. 

Every man found his knife in his girdle, forks 
were unknown. Fakredeen prided himself on his 
French porcelain, which the Djinblats, the Talhooks, 
and the Abunekeds glanced at very queerly. This 
European luxury was confined to his own carpet. 
There was, however, a considerable supply of Egyp- 
tian earthenware, and dishes of pewter and brass. 
The retainers, if they required a plate, found one in 
the large flat barley cake with which each was sup- 
plied. For the principal guests there was no want of 
coarse goblets of Bohemian glass; delicious water 
abounded in vases of porous pottery, which might be 
blended, if necessary, with the red or white wine of 
the mountain. The rice, which had been dressed 
with a savoury sauce, was eaten with wooden spoons 
by those who were supplied with these instruments; 
but in general the guests served themselves by hand- 
fuls. 

Ten men brought in a framework of oaken 
branches placed transversely, then covered with twigs, 
and over these, and concealing everything, a bed, 
fully an inch thick, of mulberry leaves. Upon this 
fragrant bier reposed a wild boar; and on each side 
of him reclined a gazelle. Their bodies had closed 
the moment their feet had been loosened from the 
stakes, so that the gravy was contained within them. 
It required a most skilful carver not to waste this 



TANCRED 247 

precious liquid. The chamber was filled with an in- 
vigorating odour as the practised hand of Habas of 
Deir el Kamar proceeded to the great performance. 
His instruments were a silver cup, a poniard, and a 
handjar. Making a small aperture in the side of the 
animal, he adroitly introduced the cup, and propor- 
tionately baled out the gravy to a group of plates that 
were extended to him; then, plunging in the long 
poniard on which he rested, he made an incision 
with the keen edge and broad blade of the handjar, 
and sent forth slice after slice of white fat and ruby 
flesh. 

The same ceremony was performing in the other 
parts of the castle. Ten of the pits had been cleared 
of their burden to appease the first cravings of the 
appetite of the hunters. The fires had been replen- 
ished, the gridirons again covered, and such a supply 
kept up as should not only satisfy the chieftains, but 
content their followers. Tancred could not refrain 
from contrasting the silent, business-like way in 
which the Shehaabs, the Talhooks, the Djinblats, and 
the Habeish performed the great operation that was 
going on, with the conversation which is considered 
an indispensable accompaniment of a dinner in Fran- 
guestan; for we must no longer presume to call 
Europe by its beautiful oriental name of Christendom. 
The Shehaabs, the Talhooks, the Djinblats, and the 
Habeish were sensible men, who were of opinion 
that if you want to talk you should not by any 
means eat, since from such an attempt at a united 
performance it generally results that you neither con- 
verse nor refresh yourself in a satisfactory manner. 

There can be no question that, next to the cor- 
roding cares of Europeans, principally occasioned by 



248 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

their love of accumulating money which they never 
enjoy, the principal cause of the modern disorder of 
dyspepsia prevalent among them is their irrational 
habit of interfering with the process of digestion by 
torturing attempts at repartee, and racking their brain 
at a moment when it should be calm, to remind 
themselves of some anecdote so appropriate that they 
have forgotten it. It has been supposed that the 
presence of women at our banquets has occasioned 
this fatal and inopportune desire to shine; and an 
argument has been founded on this circumstance in 
favour of their exclusion from an incident which, on 
the whole, has a tendency to impair that ideal which 
they should always study and cherish. It may be 
urged that if a woman eats she may destroy her 
spell; and that, if she will not eat, she destroys our 
dinner. 

Notwithstanding all this, and without giving any 
opinion on this latter point, it should be remembered 
that at dinners strictly male, where there is really no 
excuse for anything of the kind, where, if you are a 
person of ascertained position, you are invited for that 
position and for nothing else, and where, if you are 
not a person of ascertained position, the more agree- 
able you make yourself the more you will be hated, 
and the less chance you will have of being asked 
there again, or anywhere else, still this fatal frenzy 
prevails; and individuals are found who, from soup to 
coffee, from egg to apple, will tell anecdotes, indulge 
in jests, or, in a tone of levity approaching to jest- 
ing, pour forth garrulous secret history with which 
everyone is acquainted, and never say a single thing 
which is new that is not coolly invented for the oc- 
casion. 



TANCRED 249 

The princes of the Houses of Shehaab, Kais, and 
Assaad, and Abdullah, the Habeish and the Eldadah, 
the great Houses of the Druses, the Djinblat and the 
Yezbek, the Abuneked, the Talhook, and the Abdel- 
Malek, were not of this school. Silently, determinedly, 
unceasing, unsatiated, they proceeded with the great 
enterprise on which they had embarked. If the two 
nations were indeed to be united, and form a great 
whole under the sceptre of a Shehaab, let not this 
banquet pass like the hypocritical hospitality of ordi- 
nary life, where men offer what they desire not to be 
accepted by those who have no wish to receive. 
This, on the contrary, was a real repast, a thing to 
be remembered. Practice made the guests accus- 
tomed to the porcelain of Paris and the goblets of 
Prague. Many was the goodly slice of wild boar, 
succeeded by the rich flesh of the gazelle, of which 
they disposed. There were also wood-pigeons, 
partridges, which the falconers had brought down, 
and quails from the wilderness. At length they 
called again for rice, a custom which intimated that 
their appetite for meat was satisfied, and immedi- 
ately Nubian slaves covered them with towels of 
fine linen fringed with gold, and, while they held 
their hands over the basin, poured sweet waters from 
the ewer. 

In the meantime, Butros Keramy opened his heart 
to Rafael Farah. 

'I begin,' said Butros, quaffing a cup of the Vino 
d'Oro, 'to believe in nationality.' 

'It cannot be denied,' said Rafael Farah, judiciously 
shaking his head, 'that the two nations were once 
under the same prince. If the great powers would 
agree to a Shehaab, and we could sometimes meet 



250 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

together in the present fashion, there is no saying, 
prejudices might wear off,' 

'Shall it ever be said that I am of the same nation 
as Hamood Abuneked ? ' said Butros. 

'Ah! it is very dreadful,' said Rafael; 'a man who 
has burned convents!' 

'And who has five hundred Maronite horns in his 
castle,' said Butros. 

' But suppose he restores them ? ' said Francis El 
Kazin. 

'That would make a difference,' said Rafael Farah. 

'There can be no difference while he lives,' said 
Butros. 

'1 fear 'tis an affair of blood,' said Rafael Farah. 

'Taking horns was never an affair of blood,' said 
Francis El Kazin. 

'What should be an affair of blood,' said Butros, 

'But nothing else but taking horns can be proved,' 
said Francis El Kazin. 

'There is a good deal in that!' said Rafael Farah. 

After confectionery which had been prepared by 
nuns, and strong waters which had been distilled by 
the hands of priors, the chieftains praised God, and 
rose, and took their seats on the divan, when imme- 
diately advanced a crowd of slaves, each bearing a 
nargileh, which they presented to the guests. Then 
gradually the conversation commenced. It was en- 
tirely confined to the exploits of the day, which had 
been rich in the heroic feats of forest huntsmen. 
There had been wild boars, too, as brave as their 
destroyers; some slight wounds, some narrow escapes. 
Sheikh Said Djinblat inquired of Lord Montacute 
whether there were hyenas in England, but was im- 



TANCRED 251 

mediately answered by the lively and well-informed 
Kais Shehaab, who apprised him that there were only 
lions and unicorns. Bishop Nicodemus, who watched 
the current of observations, began telling hunting 
stories of the time of the Emir Bescheer, when that 
prince resided at his splendid castle of Bteddeen, near 
Deir el Kamar. This was to recall the days when 
the mountain had only one ruler, and that ruler a 
Shehaab, and when the Druse lords were proud to be 
classed among his most faithful subjects. 

In the meantime smoking had commenced through- 
out the castle, but this did not prevent the smokers 
from drinking raki as well as the sober juice of 
Mocha. Four hundred men, armed with nargileh or 
chibouque, inhaling and puffing with that ardour and 
enjoyment which men, after a hard day's hunting, 
and a repast of unusual solidity, can alone experi- 
ence! Without the walls, almost as many individ- 
uals were feasting in the open air; brandishing their 
handjars as they cut up the huge masses of meat 
before them, plunging their eager hands into the 
enormous dishes of rice, and slaking their thirst by 
emptying at a draught a vase of water, which they 
poured aloft as the Italians would a flask of wine 
or oil. 

'And the most curious thing,' said Freeman to 
Trueman, as they established themselves under a pine 
tree, with an ample portion of roast meat, and armed 
with their traveling knives and forks, 'and the most 
curious thing is, that they say these people are Chris- 
tians! Who ever heard of Christians wearing tur- 
bans?' 

'Or eating without knives and forks .^' added True- 
man. 



252 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

' It would astonish their weak minds in the stew- 
ard's room at Bellamont, if they could see all this, 
John,' said Mr. Freeman, pensively. 'A man who 
travels has very great advantages.' 

'And very great hardships too,' said Trueman. 
' I don't care for work, but I do like to have my 
meals regular.' 

'This is not bad picking, though,' said Mr. Free- 
man; 'they call it gazelle, which I suppose is the 
foreign for venison.' 

'If you called this venison at Bellamont,' said 
Trueman, 'they would look very queer in the stew- 
ard's room.' 

'Bellamont is Bellamont, and this place is this 
place, John,' said Mr. Freeman. 'The Hameer is a 
noble gentleman, every inch of him, and I am very 
glad my lord has got a companion of his own kidney. 
It is much better than monks and hermits, and low 
people of that sort, who are not by no means fit 
company for somebody I could mention, and might 
turn him into a papist into the bargain.' 

'That would be a bad business,' said Trueman; 
'my lady could never abide that. It would be better 
that he should turn Turk.' 

'1 am not sure it wouldn't,' said Mr. Freeman. 
'It would be in a manner more constitutional. The 
Sultan of Turkey may send an Ambassador to our 
Queen, but the Pope of Rome may not.' 

'I should not like to turn Turk,' said Trueman, 
very thoughtfully. 

'1 know what you are thinking of, John,' said 
Mr. Freeman, in a serious tone. ' You are thinking, 
if anything were to happen to either of us in this 
heathen land, where we should get Christian burial.' 



TANCRED 253 

'Lord love you, Mr. Freeman, no, I wasn't. I was 
thinking of a glass of ale.' 

'Ah!' sighed Freeman, 'it softens the heart to 
think of such things away from home, as we are. 
Do you know, John, there are times when I feel 
very queer, there are indeed. I catched myself a 
singing "Sweet Home" one night, among those sav- 
ages in the wilderness. One wants consolation, John, 
sometimes, one does, indeed; and, for my part, 1 do 
miss the family prayers and the home-brewed.' 

As the twilight died away, they lighted immense 
bonfires, as well to cheer them during their bivouac, 
as to deter any adventurous panther, stimulated by 
the savoury odours, or hyena, breathing fraternal re- 
venge, from reconnoitring their encampment. By de- 
grees, however, the noise of the revellers without 
subsided, and at length died away. Having satisfied 
their hunger, and smoked their chibouques, often 
made from the branch which they had cut since their 
return from hunting, with the bud still alive upon the 
fresh green tube, they wrapped themselves in their 
cloaks and sheepskins, and sunk into a deep and 
well-earned repose. 

Within, the Sheikhs and mookatadgis gradually, 
by no means simultaneously, followed their example. 
Some, taking off their turbans and loosening their 
girdles, ensconced themselves under the arcades, lying 
on their carpets, and covered with their pelisses and 
cloaks; some strolled into the divaned chambers, 
which were open to all, and more comfortably stowed 
themselves upon the well-stuffed cushions; others, 
overcome with fatigue and their revel, were lying in 
deep sleep, outstretched in the open court, and pic- 
turesque in the blazing moonlight. 



254 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The hunting party was to last three days, and 
few intended to leave Canobia on the morrow; but it 
must not be supposed that the guests experienced 
any very unusual hardships in what the reader may 
consider a far from satisfactory mode of passing their 
night. To say nothing of the warm and benignant 
climate, the Easterns have not the custom of retiring or 
rising with the formality of the Occidental nations. 
They take their sleep when they require it, and meet 
its embrace without preparation. One cause of this 
difference undoubtedly is, that the Orientals do not 
connect the business of the toilet with that of rest. 
The daily bath, with its elaborate processes, is the 
spot where the mind ponders on the colour of a robe 
or the fashion of a turban; the daily bath, which is 
the principal incident of Oriental habits, and which 
can scarcely be said to exist among our own. 

Fakredeen had yielded even his own chambers to 
his friends. Every divan in Canobia was open, ex- 
cepting the rooms of Tancred. These were sacred, 
and the Emir had requested his friend to receive him 
as a guest during the festival, and apportion him one 
of his chambers. The head of the House of Talhook 
was asleep with the tube of his nargileh in his mouth; 
the Yezbek had unwound his turban, cast off his 
sandals, wrapped himself in his pelisses, and fairly 
turned in; Bishop Nicodemus was kneeling in a 
corner and kissing a silver cross; and Hamood Abu- 
neked had rolled himself up in a carpet, and was 
snoring as if he were blowing through one of the 
horns of the Maronites. Fakredeen shot a glance at 
Tancred, instantly recognised. Then, rising and giv- 
ing the salaam of peace to his guests, the Emir and 
his English friend made their escape down a corridor, 



TANCRED 255 

at the bottom of which was one of the few doors 
that could be found in the castle of Canobia. Baroni 
received them, on the watch lest some cruising Sheikh 
should appropriate their resting-place. The young 
moon, almost as young and bright as it was two 
months before at Gaza, suffused with lustre the 
beautiful garden of fruit and flowers without. Under 
the balcony, Baroni had placed a divan with many 
cushions, a lamp with burning coffee, and some fresh 
nargilehs. 

'Thank God, we are alone!' exclaimed Fakredeen. 
'Tell me, my Tancred, what do you think of it all.?' 




CHAPTER XLIV 




Fakredeen's Debts. 

T HAS been a great day,' said Tan- 
cred, 'not to be forgotten.' 
'Yes; but what do you think of 
them ? Are they the fellows I 
described; the men that might 
conquer the world?' 
'To conquer the world depends on men not only 
being good soldiers, but being animated by some 
sovereign principle that nothing can resist,' replied 
Tancred. 

'But that we have got,' rejoined Fakredeen. 
' But have they got \t?' 
'We can give it to them.' 

' I am not so sure of that. It seems to me that 
we are going to establish a theocratic equality by the 
aid of the feudal system.' 

' That is to say, their present system, ' replied Fak- 
redeen. ' Islamism was propagated by men who 
were previously idolaters, and our principle may be 
established by those whose practice at the present 
time is directly opposed to it.' 

' I still cling to my first idea of making the move- 
ment from the desert,' said Tancred: 'the Arabians 
(256) 



TANCRED 257 

are entirely unsophisticated; they are now as they 
were in the time of Mahomet, of Moses, of Abraham: 
a sublime devotion is natural to them, and equality, 
properly developed, is in fact the patriarchal prin- 
ciple.' 

'But these are Arabians,' said Fakredeen; 'I am 
an Arabian; there is not a mookatadgi, whatever his 
present creed, who does not come from Yemen, or 
the Hedjaz, or the Nejid.' 

'That is a great qualification,' said Tancred, mus- 
ingly. 

'And, see what men these are!' continued Fak- 
redeen, with great animation. ' Lebanon can send 
forth more than fifty thousand well-armed, and yet 
let enough stay at home to guard the mulberry trees 
and the women. Then you can keep them for noth- 
ing; a Bedouin is not more temperate than a Druse, 
if he pleases: he will get through a campaign on 
olives and cheese; they do not require even tents; 
they bivouac in a sheepskin.' 

'And yet,' said Tancred, 'though they have main- 
tained themselves, they have done nothing; now, the 
Arabs have always succeeded.' 

'I will tell you how that is,' said Fakredeen. 'It 
is very true that we have not done much, and that, 
when we descended into the plain, as we did in '63, 
under the Emir Yousef, we were beat, beaten back 
even by the Mutualis; it is that we have no cavalry. 
They have always contrived to enlist the great tribes 
of the Syrian desert against us, as for instance, under 
Daher, of whom you must have heard: it was that 
which has prevented our development; but we have 
always maintained ourselves. Lebanon is the key of 
Syria, and the country was never unlocked unless we 



258 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

pleased. But this difficulty is now removed. Through 
Amalek we shall have the desert on our side; he is 
omnipotent in the Syrian wilderness; and if he sends 
messengers through Petraea to Derayeh, the Nejid, and 
through the Hedjaz, to Yemen and Oman, we could 
easily get a cavalry as efficient and not less numerous 
than our foot.' 

'The instruments will be found,' said Tancred, 
'for it is decreed that the deed should be done. But 
•the favour of Providence does not exempt man from 
the exercise of human prudence. On the contrary, it 
is an agent on whose co-operation they are bound 
to count. I should like to see something of the great 
Syrian cities. I should like also to see Bagdad. It 
appears to me, at the first glance, that the whole 
country to the Euphrates might be conquered in a 
campaign; but then I want to know how far artil- 
lery is necessary, whether it be indispensable. Then 
again, the Lesser Asia; we should never lose sight of 
the Lesser Asia as the principal scene of our move- 
ments; the richest regions in the world, almost de- 
populated, and a position from which we might 
magnetise Europe. But suppose the Turks, through 
Lesser Asia, conquer Lebanon, while we are overrun- 
ning the Babylonian and Assyrian monarchies? That 
will never do. I see your strength here with your 
own people and the Druses, and I do not underrate 
their qualities: but who is to garrison the north of 
Syria ? Who is to keep the passes of the North ? 
What population have you to depend on between 
Tripoli and Antioch, or between Aleppo and Adanah? 
Of all this I know nothing.' 

Fakredeen had entirely imbibed the views of Tan- 
cred; he was sincere in his professions, fervent in his 



TANCRED 2^9 

faith. A great feudal proprietor, he was prepared to 
forsake his beautiful castle, his farms and villages, his 
vineyards, and mulberry orchards, and forests of oaks, 
to assist in establishing, by his voice and his sabre, 
a new social system, which was to substitute the 
principle of association for that of dependence as the 
foundation of the Commonwealth, under the sanction 
and superintendence of the God of Sinai and of Cal- 
vary. True it was that the young Syrian Emir in- 
tended, that among the consequences of the impend- 
ing movement should be his enthronement on one of 
the royal seats of Asia. But we should do him in- 
justice, were we to convey the impression that his 
ardent co-operation with Tancred at this moment 
was impelled merely, or even principally, by these 
coarsely selfish considerations. Men certainly must 
be governed, whatever the principle of the social 
system, and Fakredeen felt born with a predisposition 
to rule. 

But greater even than his desire for empire was 
his thirst for action. He was wearied with the glit- 
tering cage in which he had been born. He panted 
for a wider field and a nobler theatre, interests more 
vast and incidents more dazzling and comprehensive; 
he wished to astonish Europe instead of Lebanon, and 
to use his genius in baffling and controlling the 
thrones and dominations of the world, instead of 
managing the simple Sheikhs and Emirs of his moun- 
tains. His castle and fine estates were no sources 
of satisfaction to him. On the contrary, he viewed 
Canobia with disgust. It entailed duties, and brought 
no excitement. He was seldom at home and only 
for a few passing days: continued residence was in- 
tolerable to his restless spirit. He passed his life in 



26o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

perpetual movement, scudding about on the fleetest 
dromedaries, and galloping over the deserts on steeds 
of the highest race. 

Though proud of his ancient house, and not une- 
qual, when necessary, to the due representation of 
his position, unlike the Orientals in general, he dis- 
liked pomp, and shrank from the ceremony which 
awaited him„ His restless, intriguing, and imagina- 
tive spirit revelled in the incognito. He was perpet- 
ually in masquerade; a merchant, a Mamlouk, a soldier 
of fortune, a Tartar messenger, sometimes a pilgrim, 
sometimes a dervish, always in pursuit of some im- 
probable but ingenious object, or lost in the mazes of 
some fantastic plot. He enjoyed moving alone with- 
out a single attendant; and seldom in his mountains, 
he was perpetually in Egypt, Bagdad, Cyprus, Smyrna, 
and the Syrian cities. He sauntered away a good 
deal of his time indeed in the ports and towns of the 
coast, looking after his creditors; but this was not 
the annoyance to him which it would be to most 
men. 

Fakredeen was fond of his debts; they were the 
source indeed of his only real excitement, and he 
was grateful to them for their stirring powers. The 
usurers of Syria are as adroit and callous as those of 
all other countries, and possess no doubt all those re- 
pulsive qualities which are the consequence of an 
habitual control over every generous emotion. But, 
instead of viewing them with feelings of vengeance 
or abhorrence, Fakredeen studied them unceasingly 
with a fine and profound investigation, and found in 
their society a deep psychological interest. His own 
rapacious soul delighted to struggle with their rapine, 
and it charmed him to baffle with his artifice their 



TANCRED 261 

fraudulent dexterity. He loved to enter their houses 
with his glittering eye and face radiant with inno- 
cence, and, when things were at the very worst 
and they remorseless, to succeed in circumventing 
them. In a certain sense, and to a certain degree, 
they were all his victims. True, they had gorged 
upon his rents and menaced his domains; but they 
had also advanced large sums, and he had so in- 
volved one with another in their eager appetite to 
prey upon his youth, and had so complicated the 
financial relations of the Syrian coast in his own re- 
spect, that sometimes they tremblingly calculated that 
the crash of Fakredeen must inevitably be the signal 
of a general catastrophe. 

Even usurers have their weak side; some are vain, 
some envious; Fakredeen knew how to titillate their 
self-love, or when to give them the opportunity of 
immolating a rival. Then it was, when he had baffled 
and deluded them, or, with that fatal frankness of 
which he sometimes blushingly boasted, had betrayed 
some sacred confidence that shook the credit of the 
whole coast from Scanderoon to Gaza, and embroiled 
individuals whose existence depended on their mutual 
goodwill, that, laughing like one of the blue-eyed 
hyenas of his forests, he galloped away to Canobia, 
and, calling for his nargileh, mused in chuckling cal- 
culation over the prodigious sums he owed to them, 
formed whimsical and airy projects for his quit- 
tance, or delighted himself by brooding over the 
memory of some happy expedient or some daring 
feat of finance. 

'What should I be without my debts.?' he would 
sometimes exclaim; 'dear companions of my life that 
never desert me! All my knowledge of human nature 



262 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

is owing to them: it is in managing my affairs that I 
have sounded the depths of the human heart, recog- 
nised all the combinations of human character, devel- 
oped my own powers, and mastered the resources of 
others. What expedient in negotiation is unknown 
to me ? What degree of endurance have I not calcu- 
lated ? What play of the countenance have I not ob- 
served ? Yes, among my creditors, 1 have disciplined 
that diplomatic ability that shall some day confound 
and control cabinets. O, my debts, I feel your pres- 
ence like that of guardian angels! If I be lazy, you 
prick me to action; if elate, you subdue me to re- 
flection; and thus it is that you alone can secure that 
continuous yet controlled energy which conquers man- 
kind.' 

Notwithstanding all this, Fakredeen had grown 
sometimes a little wearied even of the choice excite- 
ment of pecuniary embarrassment. It was too often 
the same story, the adventures monotonous, the char- 
acters identical. He had been plundered by every 
usurer in the Levant, and in turn had taken them in. 
He sometimes delighted his imagination by the idea 
of making them disgorge; that is to say, when he 
had established that supremacy which he had resolved 
sooner or later to attain. Although he never kept an ac- 
count, his memory was so faithful that he knew exactly 
the amount of which he had been defrauded by every 
individual with whom he had had transactions. He 
longed to mulct them, to the service of the State, 
in the exact amount if their unhallowed appropria- 
tions. He was too good a statesman ever to confis- 
cate; he confined himself to taxation. Confiscation 
is a blunder that destroys public credit; taxation, on 



TANCRED 263 

the contrary, improves it, and both come to the same 
thing. 

That the proud soul of Tancred of Montacute, with 
its sublime aspirations, its inexorable purpose, its em- 
pyrean ambition, should find a votary in one appar- 
ently so whimsical, so worldly, and so worthless, 
may at the first glance seem improbable; yet a nearer 
and finer examination may induce us to recognise its 
likelihood. Fakredeen had a brilliant imagination and 
a passionate sensibility; his heart was controlled by 
his taste, and, when that was pleased and satisfied, 
he was capable of profound feeling and of earnest 
conduct. Moral worth had no abstract charms for 
him, and he could sympathise with a dazzling repro- 
bate; but virtue in an heroic form, lofty principle, and 
sovereign duty invested with all the attributes calcu- 
lated to captivate his rapid and refined perception, ex- 
ercised over him a resistless and transcendent spell. 
The deep and disciplined intelligence of Tancred, 
trained in all the philosophy and cultured with all the 
knowledge of the West, acted with magnetic power 
upon a consciousness the bright vivacity of which 
was only equalled by its virgin ignorance of all that 
books can teach, and of those great conclusions which 
the studious hour can alone elaborate. Fakredeen 
hung upon his accents like a bee, while Tancred 
poured forth, without an effort, the treasures of his 
stored memory and long musing mind. He went on, 
quite unconscious that his companion was devoid of 
that previous knowledge, which, with all other per- 
sons, would have been a preliminary qualification for 
a profitable comprehension of what he said. Fakre- 
deen gave him no hint of this: the young Emir 



264 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

trusted to his quick perception to sustain him, al- 
though his literary training was confined to an Arabic 
grammar, some sentences of wise men, some volumes 
of poetry, and mainly and most profitably to the 
clever Courier de Smyrne, and occasionally a packet 
of French journals which he obtained from a Levan- 
tine consul. 

It was therefore with a feeling not less than en- 
thusiastic that Fakredeen responded to the suggestive 
influence of Tancred. The want that he had long 
suffered from was supplied, and the character he had 
long mused over had appeared. Here was a vast 
theory to be reduced to practice, and a commanding 
mind to give the leading impulse. However imper- 
fect may have been his general conception of the ideas 
of Tancred, he clearly comprehended that their fulfil- 
ment involved his two great objects, change and ac- 
tion. Compared with these attainments on a great 
scale, his present acquisition and position sank into 
nothingness. A futurity consisting of a Syrian Emirate 
and a mountain castle figured as intolerable, and Fak- 
redeen, hoping all things and prepared for anything, 
flung to the winds all consideration for his existing 
ties, whether in the shape of domains or of debts. 

The imperturbable repose, the grave and thought- 
ful daring, with which Tancred developed his revolu- 
tionary projects, completed the power with which he 
could now dispose of the fate of the young Emir. 
Sometimes, in fluttering moments of disordered reverie, 
Fakredeen had indulged in dreams of what, with his 
present companion, it appeared was to be the ordi- 
nary business of their lives, and which he discussed 
with a calm precision which alone half convinced 



TANCRED 



265 



Fakredeen of their feasibility. It was not for an im- 
passioned votary to intimate a difficulty; but if Fakre- 
deen, to elicit an opinion, sometimes hinted an 
adverse suggestion, the objection was swept away in 
an instant by an individual whose inflexible will was 
sustained by the conviction of divine favour. 





CHAPTER XLV. 

The People of Ansarey. 

YOU know anything of a people 
in the north of this country, called 
the Ansarey?' inquired Tancred of 
Baroni. 

'No, my lord; and no one else. 
They hold the mountainous country 
about Antioch, and will let no one enter it; a very 
warlike race; they beat back the Egyptians; but Ibra- 
him Pasha loaded his artillery with piastres the second 
time he attacked them, and they worked very well 
with the Pasha after that.' 
'Are they Moslemin?' 

' It is very easy to say what they are not, and 
that is about the extent of any knowledge that we 
have of them; they are not Moslemin, they are not 
Christians, they are not Druses, and they are not 
Jews, and certainly they are not Guebres, for I have 
spoken of them to the Indians at Djedda, who are 
fire-worshippers, and they do not in any degree ac- 
knowledge them.' 

'And what is their race? Are they Arabs?' 
'I should say not, my lord; for the only one I ever 
saw was more like a Greek or an Armenian than a 
son of the desert.' 
(266) 



TANCRED 267 

'You have seen one of them?' 

' It was at Damascus: there was a city brawl, and 
M. de Sidonia saved the life of a man, who turned 
out to be an Ansarey, though disguised. They have 
secret agents at most of the Syrian cities. They 
speak Arabic; but I have heard M. de Sidonia say 
they have also a language of their own.' 

*I wonder he did not visit them.' 

'The plague raged at Aleppo when we were there, 
and the Ansarey were doubly rigid in their exclusion 
of all strangers from their country.' 

'And this Ansarey at Damascus, have you ever 
seen anything of him since.?' 

'Yes; I have been at Damascus several times since 
I travelled with M. de Sidonia, and I have sometimes 
smoked a nargileh with this man: his name is Dar- 
kush, and he deals in drugs.' 

Now this was the reason that induced Tancred to 
inquire of Baroni respecting the Ansarey. The day 
before, which was the third day of the great hunting 
party at Canobia, Fakredeen and Tancred had found 
themselves alone with Hamood Abuneked, and the 
lord of Canobia had thought it a good occasion to 
sound this powerful Sheikh of the Druses. Hamood 
was rough, but frank and sincere. He was no enemy 
of the House of Shehaab; but the Abunekeds had 
suffered during the wars and civil conflicts which 
had of late years prevailed in Lebanon, and he was 
evidently disinclined to mix in any movement which 
was not well matured and highly promising of suc- 
cess. Fakredeen, of course, concealed his ulterior 
purpose from the Druse, who associated with the 
idea of union between the two nations merely the 
institution of a sole government under one head. 



268 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

and that head a Shehaab, probably dwelHng at 
Canobia. 

'I have fought by the side of the Emir Bescheer,' 
said Hamood, 'and would he were in his palace of 
Bteddeen at this moment! And the Abunekeds rode 
with the Emir Yousef against Djezzar. It is not the 
House of Abuneked that would say there should be 
two weak nations when there might be one strong 
one. But what I say is sealed with the signet of 
truth; it is known to the old, and it is remembered 
by the wise; the Emir Bescheer has said it to me as 
many times as there are oranges on that tree, and the 
Emir Yousef has said it to my father. The northern 
passes are not guarded by Maronite or by Druse.' 

' And as long as they are not guarded by us ? ' said 
Fakredeen, inquiringly. 

'We may have a sole prince and a single govern- 
ment,' continued Hamood, 'and the houses of the 
two nations may be brothers, but every now and then 
the Osmanli will enter the mountain, and we shall 
eat sand.' 

' And who holds the northern passes, noble Sheikh ?' 
inquired Tancred. 

'Truly, I believe,' replied Hamood, 'very sons of 
Eblis, for the whole of that country is in the hands 
of Ansarey, and there never has been evil in the 
mountain that they have not been against us.' 

'They never would draw with the Shehaabs,' said 
Fakredeen; 'and I have heard the Emir Bescheer say 
that, if the Ansarey had acted with him, he would 
have baffled, in '40, both the Porte and the Pasha.' 

'It was the same in the time of the Emir Yousef,' 
said Sheikh Hamood. 'They can bring twenty-five 
thousand picked men into the plain.' 



TANCRED 269 

'And I suppose, if it were necessary, would not 
be afraid to meet the Osmanli in Anatoly?' said Fak- 
redeen. 

'If the Turkmans or the Kurds would join them,' 
said Sheikh Hamood, 'there is nothing to prevent 
their washing their horses' feet in the Bosphorus.' 

'It is strange,' said Fakredeen, 'but frequently as 
I have been at Aleppo and Antioch, I have never 
been in their country. I have always been warned 
against it, always kept from it, which indeed ought 
to have prompted my earliest efforts, when I was my 
own master, to make them a visit. But, I know not 
how it is, there are some prejudices that do stick to 
one. I have a prejudice against the Ansarey, a sort 
of fear, a kind of horror. 'Tis vastly absurd. 1 sup- 
pose my nurse instilled it into me, and frightened me 
with them when I would not sleep. Besides, I had 
an idea that they particularly hated the Shehaabs. I 
recollect so well the Emir Bescheer, at Bteddeen, 
bestowing endless imprecations on them.' 

'He made many efforts to win them, though,' said 
Sheikh Hamood, 'and so did the Emir Yousef.* 

'And you think without them, noble Sheikh,' said 
Tancred, 'that Syria is not secure?' 

' I think, with them and peace with the desert, 
that Syria might defy Turk and Egyptian.' 

' And carry the war into the enemy's quarters, if 
necessary?' said Fakredeen. 

' If they would let us alone, I am content to leave 
them,' said Hamood. 

'Hem!' said the Emir Fakredeen. 'Do you see 
that gazelle, noble Sheikh? How she bounds along! 
What if we follow her, and the pursuit should lead 
us into the lands of the Ansarey?' 



ayo BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'It would be a long ride,' said Sheikh Hamood. 
'Nor should 1 care much to trust my head in a coun- 
try governed by a woman.' 

'A woman!' exclaimed Tancred and Fakredeen. 

'They say as much,' said Sheikh Hamood; 'per- 
haps it is only a coffee-house tale.' 

'I never heard it before,' said Fakredeen. 'In the 
time of my uncle, Elderidis was Sheikh. I have heard 
indeed that the Ansarey worship a woman.' 

'Then they would be Christians,' said Sheikh 
Hamood, 'and I never heard that.' 




CHAPTER XLVI. 




The Laurellas. 

T WAS destined that Napoleon 
should never enter Rome, and Ma- 
homet never enter Damascus. What 
was the reason of this? They 
were not uninterested in those 
cities that interest all. The Em- 
peror selected from the capital of the Caesars the title 
of his son; the Prophet, when he beheld the crown of 
Syria, exclaimed that it was too delightful, and that he 
must reserve his paradise for another world. Buona- 
parte was an Italian, and must have often yearned 
after the days of Rome triumphant. The son of Ab- 
dallah was descended from the patriarchs, whose pro- 
genitor had been moulded out of the red clay of the 
most ancient city in the world. Absorbed by the 
passionate pursuit of the hour, the two heroes post- 
poned a gratification which they knew how to appre- 
ciate, but which, with all their success, all their 
power, and all their fame, they were never permitted 
to indulge. What moral is to be drawn from this 
circumstance ? That we should never lose an occa- 
sion. Opportunity is more powerful even than con- 
querors and prophets. 

(271) 



272 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

The most ancient city of the world has no antiq- 
uity. This flourishing abode is older than many 
ruins, yet it does not possess one single memorial 
of the past. In vain has it conquered or been 
conquered. Not a trophy, a column, or an arch, 
records its warlike fortunes. Temples have been 
raised here to unknown gods and to revealed Divin- 
ity; all have been swept away. Not the trace of a 
palace or a prison, a public bath, a hall of justice, 
can be discovered in this wonderful city, where 
everything has been destroyed, and where nothing 
has decayed. 

Men moralise among ruins, or, in the throng and 
tumult of successful cities, recall past visions of urban 
desolation for prophetic warning. London is a mod- 
ern Babylon; Paris has aped imperial Rome, and may 
share its catastrophe. But what do the sages say to 
Damascus? It had municipal rights in the days when 
God conversed with Abraham. Since then, the kings 
of the great monarchies have swept over it; and the 
Greek and the Roman, the Tartar, the Arab, and 
the Turk have passed through its walls; yet it still 
exists and still flourishes; is full of life, wealth, and 
enjoyment. Here is a city that has quaffed the mag- 
ical elixir and secured the philosopher's stone, that 
is always young and always rich. As yet, the disci- 
ples of progress have not been able exactly to match 
this instance of Damascus, but it is said that they 
have great faith in the future of Birkenhead. 

We moralise among ruins: it is always when the 
game is played that we discover the cause of the re- 
sult. It is a fashion intensely European, the habit of 
an organisation that, having little imagination, takes 
refuge in reason, and carefully locks the door when 



TANCRED 273 

the steed is stolen. A community has crumbled to 
pieces, and it is always accounted for by its political 
forms, or its religious modes. There has been a de- 
ficiency in what is called checks in the machinery of 
government; the definition of the suffrage has not 
been correct; what is styled responsibility has, by 
some means or other, not answered; or, on the other 
hand, people have believed too much or too little in 
a future state, have been too much engrossed by the 
present, or too much absorbed in that which was to 
come. But there is not a form of government which 
Damascus has not experienced, excepting the repre- 
sentative, and not a creed which it has not acknowl- 
edged, excepting the Protestant. Yet, deprived of the 
only rule and the only religion that are right, it is 
still justly described by the Arabian poets as a pearl 
surrounded by emeralds. 

Yes, the rivers of Damascus still run and revel within 
and without the walls, of which the steward of 
Sheikh Abraham was a citizen. They have encom- 
passed them with gardens, and filled them with foun- 
tains. They gleam amid their groves of fruit, wind 
through their vivid meads, sparkle among perpetual 
flowers, gush from the walls, bubble in the courtyards, 
dance and carol in the streets: everywhere their joyous 
voices, everywhere their glancing forms, filling the 
whole world around with freshness, and brilliancy, 
and fragrance, and life. One might fancy, as we 
track them in their dazzling course, or suddenly mak- 
ing their appearance in every spot and in every scene, 
that they were the guardian spirits of the city. You 
have explained them, says the utilitarian, the age and 
flourishing fortunes of Damascus: they arise from its 
advantageous situation; it is well supplied with water. 

16 B. D.-18 



274 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Is it better supplied thian the ruins of contiguous re~ 
gions? Did the Nile save Thebes? Did the Tigris 
preserve Nineveh? Did the Euphrates secure Baby- 
lon? 

Our scene lies in a chamber vast and gorgeous. 
The reader must imagine a hall, its form that of a 
rather long square, but perfectly proportioned. Its 
coved roof, glowing with golden and scarlet tints, 
is highly carved in the manner of the Saracens, such 
as we may observe in the palaces of Moorish Spain 
and in the Necropolis of the Mamlouk Sultans at 
Cairo, deep recesses of honeycomb work, with every 
now and then pendants of daring grace hanging like 
stalactites from some sparry cavern. This roof is sup- 
ported by columns of white marble, fashioned in the 
shape of palm trees, the work of Italian artists, and 
which forms arcades around the chamber. Beneath 
these arcades runs a noble divan of green and silver 
silk, and the silken panels of the arabesque walls have 
been covered with subjects of human interest by the 
finest artists of Munich. The marble floor, with its 
rich mosaics, was also the contribution of Italian ge- 
nius, though it was difficult at the present moment 
to trace its varied, graceful, and brilliant designs, so 
many were the sumptuous carpets, the couches, sofas, 
and cushions that were spread about it. There were 
indeed throughout the chamber many indications of 
furniture, which are far from usual even among the 
wealthiest and most refined Orientals: Indian tables, 
vases of china, and baskets of agate and porcelain 
filled with flowers. From one side, the large Sara- 
cenic windows of this saloon, which were not glazed, 
but covered only when required by curtains of green 
and silver silk, now drawn aside, looked on a garden; 



TANCRED 275 

vistas of quivering trees, broad parterres of flowers, 
and everywhere the gleam of glittering fountains, 
which owned, however, fealty to the superior stream 
that bubbled in the centre of the saloon, where four 
negroes, carved in black marble, poured forth its re- 
freshing waters from huge shells of pearl, into the 
vast circle of a jasper basin. 

At this moment the chamber was enlivened by the 
presence of many individuals. Most of these were 
guests; one was the master of the columns and the 
fountains; a man much above the middle height, 
though as well proportioned as his sumptuous hall; 
admirably handsome, for beauty and benevolence 
blended in the majestic countenance of Adam Besso. 
To-day his Syrian robes were not unworthy of his 
palace; the cream-white shawl that encircled his brow 
with its ample folds was so fine that the merchant 
who brought it to him carried it over the ocean and 
the desert in the hollow shell of a pomegranate. In 
his girdle rested a handjar, the sheath of which was 
of a rare and vivid enamel, and the hilt entirely of 
brilliants. 

A slender man of middle size, who, as he stood 
by Besso, had a diminutive appearance, was in earnest 
conversation with his host. This personage was 
adorned with more than one order, and dressed in 
the Frank uniform of one of the Great Powers, though 
his head was shaven, for he wore a tarboush or red 
cap, although no turban. This gentleman was Signor 
Elias de Laurella, a wealthy Hebrew merchant at 
Damascus, and Austrian consul-general ad honorem; 
a great man, almost as celebrated for his diplomatic 
as for his mercantile abilities; a gentleman who un- 
derstood the Eastern question; looked up to for that, 



276 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

but still more, in that he was the father of the two 
prettiest girls in the Levant. 

The Mesdemoiselles de Laurella, Therese and 
Sophonisbe, had just completed their education, 
partly at Smyrna, the last year at Marseilles. This 
had quite turned their heads; they had come back 
with a contempt for Syria, the bitterness of which 
was only veiled by the high style of European non- 
chalance, of which they had a supreme command, 
and which is, perhaps, our only match for Eastern 
repose. The Mesdemoiselles de Laurella were highly 
accomplished, could sing quite ravishingly, paint fruits 
and flowers, and drop to each other, before surround- 
ing savages, mysterious allusions to feats in ball- 
rooms, which, alas! no longer could be achieved. 
They signified, and in some degree solaced, their in- 
tense disgust at their present position by a haughty 
and amusingly impassable demeanour, which meant 
to convey their superiority to all surrounding circum- 
stances. One of their favourite modes of asserting 
this pre-eminence was wearing the Frank dress, which 
their father only did officially, and which no female 
member of their family had ever assumed, though 
Damascus swarmed with Laurellas. Nothing in the 
dreams of Madame Carson, or Madame Camille, or 
Madame Devey, nothing in the blazoned pages of the 
Almanachs des Dames and Belle Assemblee, ever ap- 
proached the Mdlles. Laurella, on a day of festival. 
It was the acme. Nothing could be conceived beyond 
it; nobody could equal it. It was taste exaggerated, 
if that be possible; fashion baffling pursuit, if that be 
permitted. It was a union of the highest moral and 
material qualities; the most sublime contempt and the 
stiffest cambric. Figure to yourself, in such habili- 



TANCRED 277 

ments, two girls, of the same features, the same form, 
the same size, but of difTerent colour: a nose turned 
up, but choicely moulded, large eyes, and richly 
fringed; fine hair, beautiful lips and teeth, but the 
upper lip and the cheek bones rather too long and 
high, and the general expression of the countenance, 
when not affected, more sprightly than intelligent. 
Therese was a brunette, but her eye wanted softness 
as much as the blue orb of the brilliant Sophonisbe. 
Nature and Art had combined to produce their figures, 
and it was only the united effort of two such first- 
rate powers that could have created anything so ad- 
mirable. 

This was the first visit of the Mesdemoiselles Lau- 
rella to the family of Besso, for they had only re- 
turned from Marseilles at the beginning of the year, 
and their host had not resided at Damascus until the 
summer was much advanced. Of course they were 
well acquainted by reputation with the great He- 
brew house of which the lord of the mansion was 
the chief. They had been brought up to esteem it 
the main strength and ornament of their race and re- 
ligion. But the Mesdemoiselles Laurella were ashamed 
of their race, and not fanatically devoted to their re- 
ligion, which might be true, but certainly was not 
fashionable. Therese, who was of a less sanguineous 
temperament than her sister, affected despair and un- 
utterable humiliation, which permitted her to say be- 
fore her own people a thousand disagreeable things 
with an air of artless frankness. The animated Soph- 
onisbe, on the contrary, was always combating prej- 
udice, felt persuaded that the Jews would not be so 
much disliked if they were better known; that all 
they had to do was to imitate as closely as possible 



278 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the habits and customs of the nation among whom 
they chanced to Hve; and she really did believe that 
eventually, such was the progressive spirit of the age, 
a difference in religion would cease to be regarded, 
and that a respectable Hebrew, particularly if well 
dressed and well mannered, might be able to pass 
through society without being discovered, or at least 
noticed. Consummation of the destiny of the favour- 
ite people of the Creator of the universe! 

Notwithstanding their practised nonchalance, the 
Mesdemoiselles Laurella were a little subdued when 
they entered the palace of Besso, still more so when 
they were presented to its master, whose manner, 
void of all art, yet invested with a natural dignity, 
asserted in an instant its superiority. Eva, whom 
they saw for the first time, received them like a 
queen, and in a dress which offered as complete a 
contrast to their modish attire as the beauty of her 
sublime countenance presented to their pretty and 
sparkling visages. 

Madame Laurella, the mother of these young ladies, 
would in Europe have been still styled young. She 
was a Smyrniote, and had been a celebrated beauty. 
The rose had since then too richly expanded, but 
even now, with her dark eyelash charged with 
yamusk, her cheek touched with rouge, and her 
fingers tipped with henna, her still fine hair exag- 
gerated by art or screened by her jewelled turban, 
she would have been a striking personage, even if it 
had not been for the blaze of jewels with which she 
was suffused and environed. The existence of this 
lady was concentred in her precious gems. An ex- 
treme susceptibility on this head is very prevalent 
among the ladies of the Levant, and the quantity of 



TANCRED 279 

jewels that they accumulate far exceeds the general 
belief. Madame Laurella was without a rival in this 
respect, and resolved to maintain her throne; dia- 
monds alone did not satisfy her; immense emeralds, 
rubies as big as pigeons' eggs, prodigious ropes of 
pearls, were studded and wound about every part of 
her rich robes. Every finger glittered, and bracelets 
flashed beneath her hanging sleeves. She sat in 
silent splendour on a divan, now and then proudly 
moving a fan of feathers, lost in criticism of the 
jewels of her friends, and in contemplation of her 
own. 

A young man, tall and well-looking, dressed as 
an Oriental, but with an affected, jerking air, more 
French than Syrian, moved jauntily about the room, 
speaking to several persons for a short time, shrug- 
ging his shoulders and uttering commonplaces as if 
they were poignant originalities. This was Hillel 
Besso, the eldest son of the Besso of Aleppo, and the 
intended husband of Eva. Hillel, too, had seen 
the world, passed a season at Pera, where he 
had worn the Frank dress, and, introduced into the 
circles by the lady of the Austrian Internuncio, 
had found success and enjoyed himself. He had 
not, however, returned to Syria with any of the dis- 
gust shared by the Mesdemoiselles Laurella. Hillel 
was neither ashamed of his race nor his religion: on 
the contrary, he was perfectly satisfied with this life, 
with the family of Besso in general, and with himself 
particularly. Hillel was a little philosophical, had 
read Voltaire, and, free from prejudices, conceived 
himself capable of forming correct opinions. He lis- 
tened smiling and in silence to Eva asserting the 
splendour and superiority of their race, and sighing 



28o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

for the restoration of their national glory, and then 
would say, in a whisper to a friend, and with a 
glance of epigrammatic airiness, ' For my part, I am 
not so sure that we were ever better off than we 
are.' 

He stopped and conversed with Therese Laurella, 
who at first was unbending, but when she found that 
he was a Besso, and had listened to one or two an- 
ecdotes which indicated personal acquaintance not 
only with ambassadors but with ambassadors' ladies, 
she began to relax. In general, however, the rest of 
the ladies did not speak, or made only observations 
to each other in a hushed voice. Conversation is not 
the accomplishment of these climes and circles. They 
seemed content to show their jewels to their neigh- 
bours. There was a very fat lady, of prodigious size, 
the wife of Signor Yacoub Picholoroni, who was also 
a consul, but not a consul-general in honorem. She 
looked like a huge Chinese idol; a perpetual smile 
played upon her immense good-natured cheeks, and 
her little black eyes twinkled with continuous satis- 
faction. There were the Mourad Farhis and the Nas- 
sim Farhis. There were Moses Laurella and his wife, 
who shone with the reflected splendour of the great 
Laurellas, but who were really very nice people; sen- 
sible and most obliging, as all travellers must have 
found them. Moses Laurella was vice-consul to his 
brother. The Farhis had no diplomatic lustre, but 
they were great merchants, and worked with the 
House of Besso in all their enterprises. They had 
married two sisters, who were also their cousins. 
Madame Mourad Farhi was in the zenith of her re- 
nowned beauty; in the gorgeous Smyrniote style, bril- 
liant yet languid, like a panther basking in the 



TANCRED 281 

sunshine. Her sister also had a rich countenance, 
and a figure like a palm tree, while her fine brow 
beamed alike with intelligence and beauty. Madame 
Nassim was highly cultured, enthusiastic for her race, 
and proud of the friendship of Eva, of which she was 
worthy. 

There were also playing about the room three or 
four children of such dazzling beauty and such ineffa- 
ble grace that no pen can picture their seraphic 
glances or gestures of airy frolic. Sometimes serious, 
from exhaustion not from thought; sometimes wild 
with the witchery of infant riot; a laughing girl with 
hair almost touching the ground, and large grey eyes 
bedewed with lustrous mischief, tumbles over an 
urchin who rises doubtful whether to scream or shout; 
sometimes they pull the robe of Besso while he talks, 
who goes on, as if unconscious of the interruption; 
sometimes they rush up to their mother or Eva for 
an embrace; sometimes they run up to the fat lady, 
look with wondering gravity in her face, and then, 
bursting into laughter, scud away. These are the 
children of a sister of Hillel Besso, brought to Da- 
mascus for change of air. Their mother is also here, 
sitting at the side of Eva: a soft and pensive counte- 
nance, watching the children with her intelligent blue 
eyes, or beckoning to them with a beautiful hand. 

The men in general remained on their legs apart, 
conversing as if they were on the Bourse. 

Now entered, from halls beyond of less dimen- 
sions, but all decorated with similar splendour, a 
train of servants, two of whom carried between them 
a large broad basket of silver filigree, filled with 
branches of the palm tree entwined with myrtle, 
while another bore a golden basket of a different 



282 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

shape, and which was filled with citrons just gath- 
ered. These they handed to the guests, and each 
guest took a branch with the right hand and a citron 
with the left. The conversation of Besso with Elias 
Laurella had been broken by their entrance, and a 
few minutes afterwards, the master of the house, 
looking about, held up his branch, shook it with a 
rustling sound, and immediately Eva was at his side. 

The daughter of Besso wore a vest of white silk, 
fitting close to her shape and descending to her 
knees; it was buttoned with large diamonds and re- 
strained by a girdle of pearls; anklets of brilliants 
peeped also, every now and then, from beneath her 
large Mamlouk trousers of rose-coloured silk that fell 
over her slippers, powdered with diamonds. Over 
her vest she wore the Syrian jacket, made of cherry- 
coloured velvet, its open arms and back richly em- 
broidered, though these were now much concealed by 
her outer pelisse, a brocade of India, massy with gold, 
and yet relieved from heaviness by the brilliancy of 
its light blue tint and the dazzling fantasy of its pat- 
tern. This was loosely bound round her waist by a 
Moorish scarf of the colour of a blood-red orange, 
and bordered with a broad fringe of precious stones. 
Her head-dress was of the same fashion as when we 
first met her in the kiosk of Bethany, except that, on 
this occasion, her Syrian cap on the back of her head 
was covered only with diamonds, and only with dia- 
monds was braided her long dark hair. 

'They will never come,' said Besso to his daugh- 
ter. ' It was one of his freaks. We will not wait.' 

'\ am sure, my father, they will come,' said Eva, 
earnestly. And indeed, at this very moment, as she 
stood at his side, holding in one hand her palm 



TANCRED 



283 



branch, which was reposing on her bosom, and in the 
other her fresh citron, the servants appeared again, 
ushering in two guests who had just arrived. One 
was quite a stranger, a young man dressed in the 
European fashion; the other was recognised at once 
by all present as the Emir of Canobia. 




CHAPTER XLVII. 




The Feast of Tabernacles. 

VA had withdrawn from her father 
to her former remote position, the 
moment that she had recognised 
the two friends, and was, there- 
fore, not in hearing when her father 
received them, and said, ' Welcome, 
noble stranger! the noble Emir here, to whom a 
thousand welcomes, told me that you would not be 
averse from joining a festival of my people.' 

' I would seize any opportunity to pay my re- 
spects to you,' replied Tancred; 'but this occasion is 
most agreeable to me.' 

'And when, noble traveller, did you arrive at Esh 
Sham ?' 

'But this morning; we were last from Hasbeya.' 
Tancred then inquired after Eva, and Besso led him 
to his daughter. 

In the meantime the arrival 
made a considerable sensation in 
cially with the Mesdemoiselles 
prince of the Lebanon, whatever 
distinguished and agreeable accession to their circle 
but in Tancred they recognised a being at once civi 
(284) 



of the new guests 
the chamber, espe- 
Laurella. A young 
his religion, was a 



TANCRED 285 

Used and fashionable, a Christian who could dance the 
polka. Refreshing as springs in the desert to their 
long languishing eyes were the sight of his white 
cravat and his boots of Parisian polish. 

'It is one of our great national festivals,' said Eva, 
slightly waving her palm branch; 'the celebration of 
the Hebrew vintage, the Feast of Tabernacles.' 

The vineyards of Israel have ceased to exist, but 
the eternal law enjoins the children of Israel still to 
celebrate the vintage. A race that persist in celebra- 
ting their vintage, although they have no fruits to 
gather, will regain their vineyards. What sublime in- 
exorability in the law! But what indomitable spirit 
in the people! 

It is easy for the happier Sephardim, the Hebrews 
who have never quitted the sunny regions that are 
laved by the Midland Ocean; it is easy for them, 
though they have lost their heritage, to sympathise, 
in their beautiful Asian cities or in their Moorish and 
Arabian gardens, with the graceful rights that are, at 
least, an homage to a benignant nature. But picture 
to yourself the child of Israel in the dingy suburb or 
the squalid quarter of some bleak northern town, 
where there is never a sun that can at any rate ripen 
grapes. Yet he must celebrate the vintage of purple 
Palestine! The law has told him, though a denizen 
in an icy clime, that he must dwell for seven days in 
a bower, and that he must build it of the boughs of 
thick trees; and the Rabbins have told him that these 
thick trees are the palm, the myrtle, and the weep- 
ing willow. Even Sarmatia may furnish a weeping 
willow. The law has told him that he must pluck 
the fruit of goodly trees, and the Rabbins have ex- 
plained that goodly fruit on this occasion is confined 



286 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

to the citron. Perhaps, in his despair, he is obliged 
to fly to the candied delicacies of the grocer. His 
mercantile connections will enable him, often at con- 
siderable cost, to procure some palm leaves from Ca- 
naan, which he may wave in his synagogue while he 
exclaims, as the crowd did when the Divine descend- 
ant of David entered Jerusalem, * Hosanna in the 
highest! ' 

There is something profoundly interesting in this 
devoted observance of Oriental customs in the heart 
of our Saxon and Sclavonian cities; in these descend- 
ants of the Bedouins, who conquered Canaan more 
than three thousand years ago, still celebrating that 
success which secured their forefathers, for the first 
time, grapes and wine. 

Conceive a being born and bred in the Judenstrasse 
of Hamburg or Frankfort, or rather in the purlieus of 
our Houndsditch or Minories, born to hereditary in- 
sult, without any education, apparently without a cir- 
cumstance that can develop the slightest taste, or 
cherish the least sentiment for the beautiful, living 
amid fogs and filth, never treated with kindness, sel- 
dom with justice, occupied with the meanest, if not 
the vilest, toil, bargaining for frippery, speculating in 
usury, existing for ever under the concurrent influence 
of degrading causes which would have worn out, 
long ago, any race that was not of the unmixed 
blood of Caucasus, and did not adhere to the laws of 
Moses; conceive such a being, an object to you of 
prejudice, dislike, disgust, perhaps hatred. The season 
arrives, and the mind and heart of that being are 
filled with images and passions that have been ranked 
in all ages among the most beautiful and the most 
genial of human experience; filled with a subject the 



TANCRED 287 

most vivid, the most graceful, the most joyous, and 
the most exuberant; a subject which has inspired 
poets, and which has made gods; the harvest of the 
grape in the native regions of the Vine. 

He rises in the morning, goes early to some White- 
chapel market, purchases some willow boughs for 
which he has previously given a commission, and 
which are brought, probably, from one of the neigh- 
bouring rivers of Essex, hastens home, cleans out the 
yard of his miserable tenement, builds his bower, 
decks it, even profusely, with the finest flowers and 
fruits that he can procure, the myrtle and the citron 
never forgotten, and hangs its roof with variegated 
lamps. After the service of his synagogue, he sups 
late with his wife and his children in the open air, 
as if he were in the pleasant villages of Galilee, be- 
neath its sweet and starry sky. 

Perhaps, as he is giving the Keedush, the Hebrew 
blessing to the Hebrew meal, breaking and distribu- 
ting the bread, and sanctifying, with a preliminary 
prayer, the goblet of wine he holds, the very cere- 
mony which the Divine Prince of Israel, nearly two 
thousand years ago, adopted at the most memorable 
of all repasts, and eternally invested with eucharistic 
grace; or, perhaps, as he is offering up the peculiar 
thanksgiving of the Feast of Tabernacles, praising 
Jehovah for the vintage which his children may no 
longer cull, but also for His promise that they may 
some day again enjoy it, and his wife and his chil- 
dren are joining in a pious Hosanna, that is, Save us! 
a party of Anglo-Saxons, very respectable men, ten- 
pounders, a little elevated it may be, though certainly 
not in honour of the vintage, pass the house, and 
words like these are heard: 



288 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'I say, Buggins, what's that row?' 

*Oh! it's those cursed Jews! we've a lot of 'em 
here. It is one of their horrible feasts. The Lord 
Mayor ought to interfere. However, things are not 
as bad as they used to be: they used always to cru- 
cify little boys at these hullabaloos, but now they only 
eat sausages made of stinking pork.' 

'To be sure,' replies his companion, 'we all make 
progress.' 

In the meantime, a burst of music sounds from 
the gardens of Besso of Damascus. He advances, and 
invites Tancred and the Emir to follow him, and, 
without any order or courtesy to the softer sex, who, 
on the contrary, follow in the rear, the whole com- 
pany step out of the Saracenic windows into the gar- 
dens. The mansion of Besso, which was of great 
extent, appeared to be built in their midst. No other 
roof or building was in any direction visible, yet the 
house was truly in the middle of the city, and the 
umbrageous plane trees alone produced that illimita- 
ble air which is always so pleasing and effective. 
The house, though lofty for an eastern mansion, was 
only one story in height, yet its front was covered 
with an external and double staircase. This, after a 
promenade in the garden, the guests approached and 
mounted. It led to the roof or terrace of the house, 
which was of great size, an oblong square, and which 
again was a garden. Myrtle trees of a considerable 
height, and fragrant with many flowers, were ar- 
ranged in close order along the four sides of this 
roof, forming a barrier which no eye from the city 
beneath or any neighbouring terrace could penetrate. 
This verdant bulwark, however, opened at each cor- 
ner of the roof, which was occupied by a projecting 



TANCRED 289 

pavilion of white marble, a light cupola of chequered 
carving supported by wreathed columns. From these 
pavilions the most charming views might be obtained 
of the city and the surrounding country: Damascus, 
itself a varied mass of dark green groves, white min- 
arets, bright gardens, and hooded domes; to the 
south and east, at the extremity of its rich plain, the 
glare of the desert; to the west the ranges of 
the Lebanon; while the city was backed on the north 
by other mountain regions which Tancred had not 
yet penetrated. 

In the centre of the terrace was a temporary struc- 
ture of a peculiar character. It was nearly forty feet 
long, half as many broad, and proportionately lofty. 
Twelve palm trees clustering with ripe fruit, and each 
of which seemed to spring from a flowering hedge 
of myrtles, supported a roof formed with much arti- 
fice of the braided boughs of trees. These, however, 
only furnished an invisible framework, from which 
were suspended the most beautiful and delicious fruits, 
citron and pomegranate, orange, and fig, and banana, 
and melon, in such thickness and profusion that they 
formed, as it were, a carved ceiling of rich shades 
and glowing colours, like the Saracenic ceiling of the 
mansion, while enormous bunches of grapes every 
now and then descended like pendants from the main 
body of the roof. The spaces between the palm trees 
were filled with a natural trellis-work of orange trees 
in fruit and blossom, leaving at intervals arches of en- 
trance, whose form was indicated by bunches of the 
sweetest and rarest flowers. 

Within was a banqueting-table covered with thick 
white damask silk, with a border of gold about a 
foot in breadth, and before each guest was placed a 



290 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

napkin of the same fashion. The table, however, 
lacked none of the conveniences and luxuries and 
even ornaments of Europe, What can withstand the 
united influence of taste, wealth, and commerce? 
The choicest porcelain of France, golden goblets 
chiselled in Bond Street, and the prototypes of which 
had perhaps been won at Goodwood or Ascot, min- 
gled with the rarest specimens of the glass of Bohe- 
mia, while the triumphant blades of Sheifield flashed 
in that very Syrian city whose skill in cutlery had 
once been a proverb. Around the table was a divan 
of amber-coloured satin with many cushions, so ar- 
ranged that the guests might follow either the Orien- 
tal or the European mode of seating themselves. 
Such was the bower or tabernacle of Besso of Da- 
mascus, prepared to celebrate the seventh day of his 
vintage feast. 





CHAPTER XLVIII. 
Eva's Affianced Bridegroom. 

E OUGHT to have met at Jerusalem,' 
said Tancred to Besso, on whose 
right hand he was seated, 'but I 
am happy to thank you for all 
your kindness, even at Damascus.' 
'My daughter tells me you are 
not uninterested in our people, which is the reason 
I ventured to ask you here.' 

'I cannot comprehend how a Christian can be un- 
interested in a people who have handed down to him 
immortal truths.' 

'All the world is not as sensible of the obligation 
as yourself, noble traveller.' 

' But who are the world ? Do you mean the in- 
habitants of Europe, which is a forest not yet cleared; 
or the inhabitants of Asia, which is a ruin about to 
tumble ? ' 

'The railroads will clear the forest,' said Besso. 
'And what is to become of the ruin.?' asked Tan- 
cred. 

'God will not forget His land.' 
'That is the truth; the government of this globe 
must be divine, and the impulse can only come from 
Asia.' 

(291) 



292 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

* If your government only understood the Eastern 
question!' said Mr. Consul-General Laurella, pricking 
up his ears at some half phrase that he had caught, 
and addressing Tancred across the table. ' It is more 
simple than you imagine, and before you return to 
England to take your seat in your Parliament, I should 
be very happy to have some conversation with you. 

I think I could tell you some things ' and he 

gave a glance of diplomatic mystery. Tancred bowed. 

'For my part,' said Hillel Besso, shrugging his 
shoulders, and speaking in an airy tone, * it seems to 
me that your Eastern question is a great imbroglio 
that only exists in the cabinets of diplomatists. Why 
should there be any Eastern question ? All is very 
well as it is. At least we might be worse: I think 
we might be worse.' 

' I am so happy to find myself once more among 
you,' whispered Fakredeen to his neighbour, Madame 
Mourad Farhi. 'This is my real home.' 

' All here must be happy and honoured to see 
you, too, noble Emir.' 

'And the good Signor Mourad: I am afraid I am 
not a favourite of his.?' pursued Fakredeen, meditating 
a loan. 

' I never heard my husband speak of you, noble 
Emir, but with the greatest consideration." 

'There is no man I respect so much,' said Fak- 
redeen; 'no one in whom I have such a thorough 
confidence. Excepting our dear host, who is reallv 
my father, there is no one on whose judgment I 
would so implicitly rely. Tell him all that, my 
dear Madame Mourad, for I wish him to respect 
me.' 

'I admire his hair so much,' whispered Therese 



TANCRED 2^2 

Laurella, in an audible voice to her sister, across the 
broad form of the ever-smiling Madame Picholoroni. 
"Tis such a relief after our dreadful turbans.' 

'And his costume, so becoming! I wonder how 
any civilised being can wear the sort of things we 
see about us. Tis really altogether like a wardrobe 
of the Comedie.' 

'Well, Sophonisbe,' said the sensible Moses Lau- 
rella, 'I admire the Franks very much; they have 
many qualities which I could wish our Levantines 
shared; but I confess that I do not think that their 
strong point is their costume.' 

'Oh, my dear uncle!' said Therese; 'look at that 
beautiful white cravat. What have we like it.? So 
simple, so distinguished! Such good taste! And 
then the boots. Think of our dreadful slippers! pow- 
dered with pearls and all sorts of trash of that kind, 
by the side of that lovely French polish.' 

' He must be terribly ennuy6 here,' said Therese to 
Sophonisbe, with a look of the initiated. 

'Indeed, I should think so: no balls, not an opera; 
I quite pity him. What could have induced him to 
come here ?' 

'I should think he must be attached to some one,' 
said Therese: 'he looks unhappy.' 

'There is not a person near him with whom he 
can have an idea in common.' 

'Except Mr. Hillel Besso,' said Therese. 'He ap- 
pears to be quite enlightened. 1 spoke to him a 
little before dinner. He has been a winter at Pera, 
and went to all the balls.' 

'Lord Palmerston understood the Eastern question 
to a certain degree,' said Mr. Consul-General Laurella; 
' but, had I been in the service of the Queen of Eng- 



294 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

land, I could have told him some things;' and he 
mysteriously paused. 

' I cannot endure this eternal chatter about Palm- 
erston,' said the Emir, rather pettishly. 'Are there 
no other statesmen in the world besides Palmerston.? 
And what should he know about the Eastern ques- 
tion, who never was in the East.?' 

' Ah, noble Emir, these are questions of the high 
diplomacy. They cannot be treated unless by the 
cabinets which have traditions.' 

' I could settle the Eastern question in a month, if 
I were disposed,' said Fakredeen. 

Mr. Consul-General Laurella smiled superciliously, 
and then said, ' But the question is, what is the 
Eastern question.?' 

'For my part,' said Hillel Besso, in a most epi- 
grammatic manner, ' I do not see the use of settling 
anything.' 

'The Eastern question is, who shall govern the 
Mediterranean.?' said the Emir. 'There are only two 
powers who can do it: Egypt and Syria. As for 
the English, the Russians, the Franks, your friends 
the Austrians, they are strangers. They come, and 
they will go; but Syria and Egypt will always re- 
main.' 

'Egypt has tried, and failed.' 

'Then let Syria try, and succeed.' 

' Do you visit Egypt before you return from the 
East, noble sir .? ' asked Besso, of Tancred. 

'I have not thought of my return; but 1 should 
not be sorry to visit Egypt. It is a country that 
rather perplexes us in Europe. It has undergone great 
changes.' 

Besso shook his head, and slightly smiled. 



TANCRED 295 

'Egypt,' said he, 'never changes. 'Tis the same 
land as in the days of the Pharaohs: governed on 
their principles of political economy, with a Hebrew 
for prime minister.' 

'A Hebrew for prime minister!' 

'Even so: Artim Bey, the present prime minister 
of Egypt, formerly the Pasha's envoy at Paris, and by 
far the best political head in the Levant, is not only 
the successor but the descendant of Joseph.' 

'He must be added then to your friend M. de 
Sidonia's list of living Hebrew statesmen,' said Tan- 
cred. 

'We have our share of the government of the 
world,' said Besso. 

' It seems to me that you govern every land ex- 
cept your own.' 

'That might have been done in '39,' said Besso 
musingly; 'but why speak of a subject which can 
little interest you?' 

'Can little interest me!' exclaimed Tancred. 'What 
other subject should interest me ? More than six cen- 
turies ago, the government of that land interested my 
ancestor, and he came here to achieve it.' 

The stars were shining before they quitted the 
Arabian tabernacle of Besso. The air was just as soft 
as a sweet summer English noon, and quite as still. 
The pavilions of the terrace and the surrounding 
bowers were illuminated by the varying tints of a 
thousand lamps. Bright carpets and rich cushions 
were thrown about for those who cared to recline; 
the brothers Farhi, for example, and indeed most of 
the men, smoking inestimable nargilehs. The Consul- 
General Laurella begged permission to present Lord 
Montacute to his daughters Therese and Sophonisbe, 



296 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

who, resolved to show to him that Damascus was 
not altogether so barbarous as he deemed it, began 
talking of new dances and the last opera. Tancred 
would have found great difficulty in sustaining his 
part in the conversation, had not the young ladies 
fortunately been requested to favour those present 
with a specimen of the art in which they excelled, 
which they did after much solicitation, vowing that 
they had no voice to-night, and that it was impos- 
sible at all times to sing except in a chamber. 

'For my part,' said Hillel Besso, with an ex- 
tremely piquant air, 'music in a chamber is very 
charming, but 1 think also in the open air it is not 
so bad.' 

Tancred took advantage of this movement to ap- 
proach Eva, who was conversing, as they took their 
evening walk, with the soft-eyed sister of Hillel and 
Madame Nassim Farhi; a group of women that the 
drawing-rooms of Europe and the harems of Asia 
could perhaps not have rivalled. 

'The Mesdemoiselles Laurella are very accom- 
plished,' said Tancred, 'but at Damascus I am not 
content to hear anything but sackbuts and psalteries.' 

' But in Europe your finest music is on the sub- 
jects of our history,' said Eva. 

'Naturally,' said Tancred, 'music alone can do 
justice to such themes. They baffle the uninspired 
pen.' 

'There is a prayer which the Mesdemoiselles Lau- 
rella once sang, a prayer of Moses in Egypt,' said 
Madame Nassim, somewhat timidly. ' It is very fine.' 

' I wish they would favour us with it,' said Eva; 
'1 will ask Hillel to request that kindness;' and she 
beckoned to Hillel, who sauntered toward her, and 



TANCRED 297 

listened to her whispered wish with a smile of super- 
cilious complacency. 

'At present they are going to favour us with Don 
Pasquale,' he said, shrugging his shoulders. 'A 
prayer is a very fine thing, but for my part, at this 
hour, I think a serenade is not so bad.' 

'And how do you like my father?' said Eva to 
Tancred in a hesitating tone, and yet with a glance 
of blended curiosity and pride. 

'He is exactly what Sidonia prepared me for; 
worthy not only of being your father, but the father 
of mankind.' 

'The Moslemin say that we are near paradise at 
Damascus,' said Madame Nassim, 'and that Adam 
was fashioned out of our red earth.' 

'He much wished to see you,' said Eva, 'and 
your meeting is as unexpected as to him it is agree- 
able.' 

'We ought to have met long before,' said Tan- 
cred. ' When I first arrived at Jerusalem, I ought to 
have hastened to his threshold. The fault and the 
misfortune were mine. 1 scarcely deserved the hap- 
piness of knowing you.' 

' I am happy we have all met, and that you now 
understand us a-Jittle. When you go back to Eng- 
land, you will defend us when we are defamed ? 
You will not let them persecute us, as they did a 
few years back, because they said we crucified their 
children at the feast of our passover?' 

'1 shall not go back to England,' said Tancred, col- 
ouring; 'and if you are persecuted, 1 hope I shall be 
able to defend you here.' 

The glowing sky, the soft mellow atmosphere, the 
brilliant surroundings, and the flowers and flashing 



298 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

gems, rich dresses and ravishing music, and every 
form of splendour and luxury, combined to create a 
scene that to Tancred was startling, as well from its 
beauty as its novel character. A rich note of Therese 
Laurella for an instant arrested their conversation. 
They were silent while it lingered on their ear. 
Then Tancred said to the soft-eyed sister of Hillel, 
* AH that we require here to complete the spell are 
your beautiful children.' 

'They sleep,' said the lady, 'and lose little by not 
being present, for, like the Queen of Sheba, I doubt 
not they are dreaming of music and flowers.' 

' They say that the children of our race are the 
most beautiful in the world,' said Eva, 'but that 
when they grow up, they do not fulfil the promise 
of their infancy.' 

'That were scarcely possible,' said the soft-eyed 
mother. 

' It is the sense of shame that comes on them 
and dims their lustre,' said Eva. 'Instead of joyous- 
ness and frank hilarity, anxiety and a shrinking re- 
serve are soon impressed upon the youthful Hebrew 
visage. It is the seal of ignominy. The dreadful 
secret that they are an expatriated and persecuted 
race is soon revealed to them, at least among the 
humbler classes. The children of our house are bred 
in noble thoughts, and taught self-respect. Their 
countenances will not change.' 

And the countenance from whose beautiful mouth 
issued those gallant words, what of that ? It was 
one that might wilder the wisest. Tancred gazed 
upon it with serious yet fond abstraction. All heav- 
enly and heroic thoughts gathered around the image 
of this woman. From the first moment of their 



TANCRED 299 

meeting at Bethany to this hour of sacred festival, all 
the passages of his life in which she had been pres- 
ent flashed through his mind. For a moment he was 
in the ruins of the Arabian desert, and recalled her 
glance of sweet solicitude, when, recovered by her 
skill and her devotion, he recognised the fair stranger 
whose words had, ere that, touched the recesses of 
his spirit, and attuned his mind to high and holiest 
mysteries. Now again their eyes met; an ineffable 
expression suffused the countenance of Lord Monta- 
cute. He sighed. 

At this moment Hillel and Fakredeen advanced 
with a hurried air of gaiety. Hillel offered his hand 
to Eva with jaunty grace, exclaiming at the same 
time, ' Ladies, if you like to follow us, you shall see 
a casket just arrived from Marseilles, and which Eva 
will favour me by carrying to Aleppo. It was chosen 
for me by the Lady of the Austrian Internuncio, who 
is now at Paris. For my part, I do not see much 
advantage in the diplomatic corps, if occasionally they 
do not execute a commission for one.' 

Hillel hurried Eva away, accompanied by his sis- 
ter and Madame Nassim. Tancred and Fakredeen re- 
mained behind. 

'Who is this man?' said Tancred. 

"Tis her affianced,' said the Emir; 'the man who 
has robbed me of my natural bride. It is to be hoped, 
however, that, when she is married, Besso will adopt 
me as his son, which in a certain sense I am, hav- 
ing been fostered by his wife. If he do not leave me 
his fortune, he ought at least to take up all my bills 
in Syria. Don't you think so, my Tancred.?' 

' What ? ' said Tancred, with a dreamy look. 

There was a burst of laughter in the distance. 



300 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Come, come,' said Fakredeen, 'see how they are 
all gathering round the marriage casket. Even Nassim 
Farhi has risen. 1 must go and talk to him: he has 
impulses, that man, at least compared with his 
brother; Mourad is a stone, a precious stone though, 
and you cannot magnetise him through his wife, for 
she has not an idea; but Madame Nassim is im- 
mensely mesmeric. Come, come, Tancred.' 

' 1 follow.' 

But instead of following his friend, Tancred en- 
tered one of the marble pavilions that jutted out from 
each corner of the terraced roof, and commanded 
splendid views of the glittering and gardened city. 
The moon had risen over that unrivalled landscape; 
the white minarets sparkled in its beam, and the vast 
hoods of the cupolaed mosques were suffused with 
its radiancy or reposed in dark shadow, almost as 
black as the cypress groves out of which they rose. 
In the extreme distance, beyond the fertile plain, was 
the desert, bright as the line of the sea, while other- 
wise around him extended the chains of Lebanon and 
of the North. 

The countenance of Tancred was more than serious, 
it was sad, as, leaning against one of the wreathed 
marble pillars, he sighed and murmured: 'If! were 
thou, most beautiful Damascus, Aleppo should not 
rob me of such a gem! But I must tear up these 
thoughts from my heart by their roots, and remember 
that 1 am ordained for other deeds.' 




^> 



n 



Ub 




CHAPTER XLIX. 

A Discussion About Scammony. 

FTER taking the bath on his arrival 
at Damascus, having his beard ar- 
ranged by a barber of distinction, 
and dressing himself in a fresh 
white suit, as was his custom 
when in residence, with his tur- 
ban of the same colour arranged a little aside, for 
Baroni was scrupulous as to his appearance, he hired 
a donkey and made his way to the great bazaar. 
The part of the city through which he proceeded was 
very crowded and bustling: narrow streets, with mats 
slung across, to shield from the sun the swarming 
population beneath. His accustomed step was fa- 
miliar with every winding of the emporium of the 
city; he threaded without hesitation the complicated 
mazes of those interminable arcades. Now he was in 
the street of the armourers, now among the sellers of 
shawls; the prints of Manchester were here unfolded, 
there the silks of India; sometimes he sauntered by a 
range of shops gay with yellow papooshes and scarlet 
slippers, and then hurried by the stalls and shelves 
stored with the fatal frippery of the East, in which it 
is said the plague in some shape or other always 

(301) 



302 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

lurks and lingers. This locality, however, indicated 
that Baroni was already approaching the purlieus of 
the chief places; the great population had already 
much diminished, the brilliancy of the scene much 
dimmed; there was no longer the swarm of itinerant 
traders who live by promptly satisfying the wants of 
the visitors to the bazaar in the shape of a pipe or 
an ice, a cup of sherbet or of coffee, or a basket of 
delicious fruit. The passengers were few, and all 
seemed busy: some Armenians, a Hebrew physician 
and his page, the gliding phantoms of some winding- 
sheets, which were in fact women. 

Baroni turned into an arcade, well built, spacious, 
airy, and very neatly fitted up. This was the bazaar 
of the dealers in drugs. Here, too, spices are sold, 
all sorts of dye-woods, and especially the choice gums 
for which Arabia is still celebrated, and which Syria 
would fain rival by the aromatic juices of her pistachio 
and her apricot trees. 

Seated on what may be called his counter, smok- 
ing a nargileh, in a mulberry-coloured robe bordered 
with fur, and a dark turban, was a middle-aged man 
of sinister countenance and air, a long hook nose and 
a light blue eye. 

'Welcome, Effendi,' he said, when he observed 
Baroni; 'many welcomes! And how long have you 
been at Esh Sham ? ' 

'Not too long,' said Baroni; 'and have you been 
here since my last visit.?' 

'Here and there,' said the man, offering him his 
pipe. 

'And how are our friends in the mountains.?' 
said Baroni, touching the tube with his lips and re- 
turning it. 



TANCRED 303 

'They live,' said the man. 

'That's something,' said Baroni. 

'Have you been in the land of the Franks?' said 
the man. 

'I am always in the land of the Franks,' said Ba- 
roni, 'and about.' 

' You don't know any one who wants a parcel of 
scammony?' said the man. 

'I don't know that 1 don't,' said Baroni, mysteri- 
ously. 

'I have a very fine parcel,' said the man; 'it is 
very scarce.' 

'No starch or myrrh in it?' asked Baroni. 

'Do you think I am a Jew?' said the man. 

*I never could make out what you were, friend 
Darkush; but as for scammony, I could throw a 
good deal of business in your way at this moment, 
to say nothing of galls and tragacanth.' 

'As for tragacanth,' said Darkush, 'it is known 
that no one in Esh Sham has pure tragacanth except 
me; as for galls, every foundling in Syria thinks he 
can deal in afis, but is it afis of Moussoul, Effendi?' 

'What you say are the words of truth, good 
Darkush; I could recommend you with a safe con- 
science. I dreamt last night that there would many 
piastres pass between us this visit.' 

'What is the use of friends unless they help you 
in the hour of adversity?' exclaimed Darkush. 

' You speak ever the words of truth. I am myself 
in a valley of dark shadows. I am travelling with a 
young English capitani, a prince of many tails, and 
he has declared that he will entirely extinguish my 
existence unless he pays a visit to the Queen of the 
Ansarey.' 



304 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

' Let him first pay a visit to King Soliman in the 
cities of the Gin,' said Darkush, doggedly. 

' I am not sure that he will not, some time or 
other,' replied Baroni, 'for he is a man who will not 
take nay. But now let us talk of scammony,' he 
added, vaulting on the counter, and seating himself by 
the side of Darkush; 'one might get more by arrang- 
ing this visit to your mountains than by enjoying an 
appalto of all its gums, friend Darkush; but if it can- 
not be, it cannot be.' 

'It cannot be,' 

' Let us talk, then, of scammony. You remember 
my old master, Darkush ? ' 

'There are many things that are forgotten, but he 
is not one.' 

'This capitani with whom I travel, this prince of 
many tails, is his friend. If you serve me now, you 
serve also him who served you.' 

'There are things that can be done, and there are 
things that cannot be done.' 

' Let us talk, then, of scammony. But fifteen years 
ago, when we first met, friend Darkush, you did not 
say nay to M. de Sidonia. It was the plague alone 
that stopped us.' 

'The snow on the mountain is not the same snow 
as fifteen years ago, EfFendi. All things change! ' 

' Let us talk, then, of scammony. The Ansarey 
have friends in other lands, but if they will not listen 
to them, many kind words will be lost. Things also 
might happen which would make everybody's shadow 
longer, but if there be no sun, their shadows cannot 
be seen.' 

Darkush shrugged his shoulders. 



TANCRED 305 

' If the sun of friendship does not illumine me,' 
resumed Baroni, ' I am entirely lost in the bottomless 
vale. Truly, I would give a thousand piastres if I 
could save my head by taking the capitani to your 
mountains.' 

'The princes of Franguestan cannot take off heads,' 
observed Darkush. ' All they can do is to banish you 
to islands inhabited by demons.' 

'But the capitani of whom I speak is prince of 
many tails, is the brother of queens. Even the great 
Queen of the English, they say, is his sister.' 

'He who serves queens may expect backsheesh.* 

'And you serve a queen, Darkush?' 

' Which is the reason I cannot give you a pass for 
the mountains, as I would have done, fifteen years 
ago, in the time of her father.' 

'Are her commands, then, so strict?' 

'That she should see neither Moslem nor Christian. 
She is at war with both, and will be for ever, for the 
quarrel between them is beyond the power of man to 
remove.' 

'And what may it be?' 

'That you can learn only in the mountains of the 
Ansarey,' said Darkush, with a malignant smile. 

Baroni fell into a musing mood. After a few mo- 
ments' thought, he looked up, and said: 'What you 
have told me, friend Darkush, is very interesting, and 
throws light on many things. This young prince, 
whom I serve, is a friend to your race, and knows 
well why you are at war both with Moslem and 
Christian, for he is so himself. But he is a man spar- 
ing of words, dark in thought, and terrible to deal 
with. Why he wishes to visit your people I dared 



3o6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

not inquire, but now I guess, from what you have 
let fall, that he is an Ansarey himself. He has come 
from a far land merely to visit his race, a man who 
is a prince among the people, to whom piastres are 
as water. I doubt not he has much to say to your 
Queen: things might have happened that would have 
lengthened ail our shadows; but never mind, what 
cannot be, cannot be: let us talk, then, of scam- 
mony.' 

'You think he is one?' said Darkush, in a lower 
tone, and looking very inquiringly. 

' 1 do,' said Baroni. 

'And what do you mean by one?' said Darkush. 

'That is exactly the secret which I never could 
penetrate.' 

'1 cannot give a pass to the mountains,' said Dar- 
kush, 'but the sympathy of friends is a river flowing 
in a fair garden. If this prince, whose words and 

thoughts are dark, should indeed be one Could 

I see him, Effendi ?' 

'It is a subject on which I dare not speak to him,' 
said Baroni. '1 hinted at his coming here: his brow 
was the brow of Eblis, his eye flashed like the red 
lightning of the Kamsin: it is impossible! What can- 
not be done, cannot be done. He must return to the 
land of his fathers, unseen by your Queen, of whom 
he is perhaps a brother; he will live, hating alike 
Moslem and Christian, but he will banish me for ever 
to islands of many demons.' 

'The Queen shall know of these strange things,' 
said Darkush, 'and we will wait for her words.' 

'Wait for the Mecca caravan!' exclaimed Baroni. 
' You know not the child of storms, who is my 



TANCRED 307 

master, and that is ever a reason why I think he 
must be one of you. For had he been softened by 
Christianity or civilised by the Koran ' 

'Unripe figs for your Christianity and your Koran!' 
exclaimed Darkush. 'Do you know what we think 
of your Christianity and your Koran?' 

'No,' said Baroni, quietly. 'Tell me.' 

'You will learn in our mountains,' said Darkush. 

'Then you mean to let me go there?' 

'If the Queen permit you,' said Darkush, 

'It is three hundred miles to your country, if it be 
an hour's journey,' said Baroni. 'What with sending 
the message and receiving the answer, to say noth- 
ing of the delays which must occur with a woman 
and a queen in the case, the fountains of Esh Sham 
will have run dry before we hear that our advance is 
forbidden.' 

Darkush shook his head, and yet smiled. 

' By the sunset of to-morrow, Effendi, I could say, 
ay or nay. Tell me what scammony you want, and 
it shall be done.' 

'Write down in your tablets how much you can 
let me have,' said Baroni, 'and I will pay you for it 
to-morrow. As for the goods themselves, you may 
keep them for me, until I ask you for them; perhaps 
the next time I travel with a capitani who is one of 
yourselves.' 

Darkush threw aside the tube of his nargileh, and, 
putting his hand very gently into the breast of his 
robe, he drew out a pigeon, dove-coloured, but with 
large bright black eyes. The pigeon seemed very 
knowing and very proud, as he rested on his master's 
two fingers. 



3o8 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



'Hah, hah! my Karaguus, my black-eyes,' ex- 
claimed Darkush. 'What, is he going on a little 
journey to somebody! Yes, we can trust Karaguus, 
for he is one of us. EtTendi, to-morrow at sunset, at 
your khan, for the bazaar will be closed, you shall 
hear from me.' 





CHAPTER L. 

The Mysterious Mountains. 

T THE black gorge of a mountain 
pass sat, like sentries, two horse- 
men. Their dress was that of the 
Kurds: white turbans, a black 
shirt girt with cords, on their 
backs a long lance, by their sides a 
crooked sword, and in their girdles a brace of pis- 
tols. 

Before them extended a wide, but mountainous 
landscape: after the small and very rugged plain on 
the brink of which they were posted, many hilly 
ridges, finally a lofty range. The general character of 
the scene was severe and savage; the contiguous 
rocks were black and riven, the hills barren and 
stony, the granite peaks of the more eminent heights 
uncovered, except occasionally by the snow. Yet, 
notwithstanding the general aridity of its appearance, 
the country itself was not unfruitful. The concealed 
vegetation of the valleys was not inconsiderable, and 
was highly cherished; the less precipitous cliffs, too, 
were cut into terraces, and covered with artificial soil. 
The numerous villages intimated that the country was 
Well populated. The inhabitants produced sufficient 

(309) 



3IO BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

wine and corn for their own use, were clotiied in 
garments woven by themselves, and possessed some 
command over the products of other countries by the 
gums, the bees'-wax, and the goats' wool which they 
could offer in exchange. 

' I have seen two eagles over Gibel Kiflis twice 
this morning,' said one of the horsemen to his com- 
panion. 'What does that portend.?' 

* A good backsheesh for our Queen, comrade. If 
these children of Franguestan can pay a princess's 
dower to visit some columns in the desert, like Tad- 
mor, they may well give us the golden keys of their 
treasury when they enter where none should go but 
those who are ' 

'But they say that this Frank is one.' 

'It has never been known that there were any 
among the Franks,' replied his comrade, shaking his 
head. 'The Franks are all Nazareny, and, before 
they were Nazareny, they were savages, and lived in 
caves.' 

' But Keferinis has given the word that all are to 
guard over the strangers as over the Queen herself, 
and that one is a prince, who is unquestionably one 
of us.' 

'My father had counted a hundred and ten years 
when he left us, Azaz, and he had twenty-four chil- 
dren, and when he was at the point of death he told 
us two things: one was, never to forget what we 
were; and the other, that never in his time had one 
like us ever visited our country.' 

'Eagles again fly over Gibel Kiflis: methinks the 
strangers must be at hand.' 

'May their visit lead to no evil to them or to 
us!' 



TANCRED 311 

* Have you misgivings ? ' 

'We are alone among men: let us remain so.' 

'You are right. I was once at Haleb (Aleppo); I 
will never willingly find myself there again.' 

'Give me the mountains, the mountains of our 
fathers, and the beautiful things that can be seen only 
by one of us!' 

'They are not to be found in the bazaars of Haleb; 
in the gardens of Damascus they are not to be 
sought.' 

'Oh! who is like the Queen who reigns over us.? 
I know to whom she is to be compared, but I will 
not say; yet you too know, my brother in arms.' 

'Yes; there are things which are not known in 
the bazaars of Haleb; in the gardens of Damascus 
they are not to be sought.' 

Karaguus, the black-eyed pigeon, brought tidings 
to the Queen of the Ansarey, from her agent Darkush, 
that two young princes, one a Syrian, the other a 
Frank, wished to enter her territories to confer with 
her on grave matters, and that he had reason to be- 
lieve that one of the princes, the Frank, strange, in- 
credible as it might sound, was one of themselves. 
On the evening of the next day, very weary, came 
Ruby-lips, the brother of Black-eyes, with the reply of 
her Majesty, ordering Darkush to grant the solicited 
pass, but limiting the permission of entrance into her 
dominions to the two princes and two attendants. As 
one of these, Baroni figured. They did not travel 
very rapidly. Tancred was glad to seize the occasion 
to visit Hameh and Aleppo on his journey. 

It was after quitting the latter city, and crossing 
the river Koweik, that they approached the region 
which was the object of their expedition. What cer- 



312 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tainly did not contribute to render their progress less 
difficult and dangerous was the circumstance that 
war at this moment was waged between the Queen 
of the Ansarey and the Pasha of Aleppo. The Turkish 
potentate had levied tribute on some villages which 
owned her sway, and which, as he maintained, were 
not included in the ancient composition paid by the 
Ansarey to the Porte in full of all demands. The 
consequence was, that parties of the Ansarey occa- 
sionally issued from their passes and scoured the 
plain of Aleppo. There was also an understanding 
between the Ansarey and the Kurds, that, whenever 
any quarrel occurred between the mountaineers and 
the Turks, the Kurds, who resembled the inhabitants 
of the mountain in their general appearance, should, 
under the title of Ansarey, take this opportunity of 
ravage. Darkush, however, had given Baroni creden- 
tials to the secret agent of the Ansarey at Aleppo; 
and, with his instructions and assistance, the difficul- 
ties, which otherwise might have been insuperable, 
were overcome; and thus it was that the sentries 
stationed at the mouth of the black ravine, which led 
to the fortress palace of the Queen, were now hourly 
expecting the appearance of the princes. 

A horseman at full gallop issued from the hills, and 
came bounding over the stony plain; he shouted to 
the sentries as he passed them, announcing the arrival 
of the strangers, and continued his pace through the 
defile. Soon afterwards appeared the cavalcade of 
the princes; themselves, their two attendants, and a 
party of horsemen with white turbans and long 
lances. 

Tancred and Fakredeen rode horses of a high race. 
But great as is the pleasure of being well mounted. 



TANCRED 



3^3 



it was not that circumstance alone whicii lit up their 
eyes with even unwonted fire, and tinged their cheeks 
with a triumphant glow. Their expedition had been 
delightful; full of adventure, novelty, and suspense. 
They had encountered difficulties and they had over- 
come them. They had a great purpose, they were 
on the eve of a stirring incident. They were young, 
daring, and brilliant. 

'A strong position,' said Tancred, as they entered 
the defile. 

'O! my Tancred, what things we have seen to- 
gether!' exclaimed Fakredeen. 'And what is to fol- 
low ? ' 

The defile was not long, and it was almost un- 
bending. It terminated in a table-land of very lim- 
ited extent, bounded by a rocky chain, on one of the 
front and more moderate elevations of which was 
the appearance of an extensive fortification; though, 
as the travellers approached it, they perceived that, 
in many instances, art had only availed itself of the 
natural advantages of the position, and that the 
towers and turrets were carved out of the living 
rock which formed the impregnable bulwarks and 
escarpments. 

The cavalcade, at a quick pace, soon gained the 
ascending and winding road that conducted them to 
a tall and massy gateway, the top of which was 
formed of one prodigious stone. The iron portal 
opening displayed a covered way cut out of the rock, 
and broad enough to permit the entrance of two 
horsemen abreast. This way was of considerable 
length, and so dark that they were obliged to be 
preceded by torch-bearers. Thence they issued into 
a large courtyard, the sunshine of which was star- 



314 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tling and almost painful, after their late passage. The 
court was surrounded by buildings of different styles 
and proportions; the further end, and, as it were, 
centre of the whole, being a broad, square, and 
stunted brick tower, immediately behind which rose 
the granite peaks of the mountains. 

There were some horsemen in the court, and 
many attendants on foot, who came forward and as- 
sisted the guests to alight. Tancred and Fakredeen 
did not speak, but exchanged glances which ex- 
pressed their secret thoughts. Perhaps they were of 
the same opinion as Baroni, that, difficult as it was 
to arrive there, it might not be more easy to return. 
However, God is great! a consolatory truth that had 
sustained Baroni under many trials. 

They were ushered into a pavilion at the side of 
the court, and thence into a commodious divan, 
which opened upon another and smaller court, in 
which were some acacia trees. As usual, pipes and 
coffee were brought. Baroni was outside, with the 
other attendant, stowing away the luggage. A man 
plainly but neatly dressed, slender and wrinkled, with 
a stooping gait but a glittering eye, came into the 
chamber, and, in a hushed voice, with many smiles, 
much humility, but the lurking air of a master, wel- 
comed them to Gindarics. Then, seating himself on 
the divan, he clapped his hands, and an attendant 
brought him his nargileh. 

M presume,' said Tancred, 'that the Emir and 
myself have the honour of conversing with the Lord 
Keferinis.' Thus he addressed this celebrated eu- 
nuch, who is prime minister of the Queen of the 
Ansarey. 



TANCRED 315 

'The Prince of England,' replied Keferinis, bow- 
ing, and speaking in a very affected voice, and in a 
very affected manner, 'must not expect the luxuries 
of the world amid these mountains. Born in Lon- 
don, which is surrounded by the sea, and with an 
immense slave population at your command, you 
have advantages with which the Ansarey cannot 
compete, unjustly deprived, as they have been, of 
their port; and unable, in the present diminished 
supply of the markets, to purchase slaves as hereto- 
fore from the Turkmans and the Kurds.' 

'I suppose the Russians interfere with your mar- 
kets.?' said Fakredeen. 

'The noble Emir of the Lebanon has expressed 
himself with infinite exactitude,' said Keferinis. 'The 
Russians now entirely stock their harems from the 
north of Asia.' 

'The Lord Keferinis has been a great traveller, 1 
apprehend.'*' said Tancred. 

'The Prince of England has expressed himself 
with extreme exactitude, and with flattering grace,' 
replied Keferinis. 'I have indeed visited all the Syr- 
ian cities, except Jerusalem, which no one wishes 
to see, and which,' he added, in a sweet calm tone, 
'is unquestionably a place fit only for hogs.' 

Tancred started, but repressed himself. 

'Have you been in Lebanon.?' asked Fakredeen. 

' Noble Emir, I have been the guest of princes of 
your illustrious house. Conversations have passed 
between me and the Emir Bescheer,' he added, with 
a significant look. ' Perhaps, had events happened 
which did not occur, the great Emir Bescheer might 
not at this moment have been a prisoner at Stamboul, 



3i6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

among those who, with infinite exactitude, may be 
described as the most obscene sons of very intolera- 
ble barbarians.' 

' And why did not you and the Emir Bescheer 
agree?' inquired Fakredeen, eagerly. 'Why has there 
never been a right understanding between your peo- 
ple and the House of Shehaab.? United, we should 
not only command Syria, but we might do more: 
we might control Asia itself! ' 

'The noble Emir has expressed himself with inex- 
pressible grace. The power of the Ansarey cannot 
be too highly estimated!' 

' Is it true that your sovereign can bring five and 
twenty thousand men into the field.?' asked Tancred. 

'Five and twenty thousand men,' replied Keferinis, 
with insinuating courtesy, ' each of whom could beat 
nine Maronites, and consequently three Druses.' 

'Five and twenty thousand figs for your five and 
twenty thousand men!' exclaimed Fakredeen laugh- 
ing. 

At this moment entered four pages and four 
maidens bringing sweetmeats from the Queen, and 
goblets of iced water. They bowed; Keferinis indi- 
cated their purpose, and when they had fulfilled their 
office they disappeared; but the seasonable interrup- 
tion had turned the conversation, and prevented Fak- 
redeen making a sharp retort. Now they talked of 
the Queen, who, Keferinis said, would be graciously 
pleased not to see them to-day, and might not even 
see them for a week, which agreeable intelligence 
was communicated in the most affable manner, as if 
it were good news, or a compliment at least. 

'The name of the Queen's father was Suedia,' said 
Fakredeen. 



TANCRED 317 

'The name of the Queen's father was Suedia,' re- 
plied Keferinis. 

'And the name of the Queen's mother ' 

'Is of no consequence,' observed Keferinis, 'for 
she was a slave, and not one of us, and therefore 
may with singular exactitude be described as noth- 
ing.' 

'Is she the first Queen who has reigned over the 
Ansarey?' inquired Tancred. 

'The first since we have settled in these moun- 
tains,' replied Keferinis. 

'And where were you settled before?' inquired 
Fakredeen. 

'Truly,' replied Keferinis, 'in cities which never 
can be forgotten, and therefore need never be men- 
tioned.' 

Tancred and Fakredeen were very desirous of 
learning the name of the Queen, but were too well- 
bred directly to make the inquiry of Keferinis. They 
had endeavoured to obtain the information as they 
travelled along, but although every Ansarey most 
obligingly answered their inquiry, they invariably 
found, on comparing notes, that every time they 
were favoured with a different piece of information. 
At last, Baroni informed them that it was useless to 
pursue their researches, as he was, from various rea- 
sons, convinced that no Ansarey was permitted to 
give any information of his country, race, govern- 
ment, or creed, although he was far too civil ever to 
refuse an apparently satisfactory answer to every 
question. As for Keferinis, although he was very 
conversable, the companions observed that he always 
made it a rule to dilate upon subjects and countries 
with which he had no acquaintance, and he expressed 



3i8 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



himself in so affected a manner, and with such an 
amphfication of useless phraseology, that, though he 
was always talking, they seemed at the end of the 
day to be little more acquainted with the Ansarey 
and their sovereign than when Baroni first opened 
the subject of their visit to Darkush at Damascus. 




CHAPTER LI 




Queen of the Ansarey. 

WAY, away, Cypres! I can remain 
no more; my heart beats so.' 
'Sweet lady,' replied Cypros, 'it 
is surprise that agitates you.' 
' Is it surprise, Cypros ? I did 
not know it was surprise. Then 
I never was surprised before.' 

'I think they were surprised, sweet lady,' said 
Cypros, smiling. 

'Hush, you are laughing very loud, my Cypros.' 
'Is that laughter, sweet lady? I did not know it 
was laughter. Then I never laughed before.' 

* I would they should know nothing either of our 
smiles or of our sighs, my Cypros.' 

She who said this was a girl of eighteen summers; 
her features very Greek, her complexion radiant, hair 
dark as night, and eyes of the colour of the violet. 
Her beautiful countenance, however, was at this mo- 
ment nearly shrouded by her veil, although no one 
could possibly behold it, excepting her attendant, 
younger even than herself, and fresh and fair as a 
flower. 

They were hurrying along a wooden gallery, which 
led, behind the upper part of the divan occupied by 

(3^9) 



320 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the travellers, to the great square central tower of the 
quadrangle, which we have already noticed, and as 
the truth must always, or at least eventually, come 
out, it shall not be concealed that, availing themselves 
of a convenient, perhaps irresistible position, the fair 
fugitives had peeped into the chamber, and had made 
even minute observations on its inhabitants with im- 
punity. Suddenly, Fakredeen rising from his seat, a 
panic had seized them and they hurried away. 

The gallery led to a flight of steps, and the flight 
of steps into the first of several chambers without 
decoration, and with no other furniture than an East- 
ern apartment always offers, the cushioned seat, which 
surrounds at least two-thirds of the room. At length 
they entered a small alcove, rudely painted in ara- 
besque, but in a classic Ionic pattern; the alcove 
opened into a garden, or rather court of myrtles with 
a fountain. An antelope, an Angora cat, two Persian 
greyhounds, were basking on the sunny turf, and 
there were many birds about, in rude but capacious 
cages. 

'We are safe,' said the lady, dropping on the di- 
van; M think we must have been seen.' 

'That was clearly impossible,' said Cypros. 

'Well, we must be seen at last,' said the lady. 
'Heigho! I never shall be able to receive them, if my 
heart beat so.' 

'1 would let them wait a few days, sweet lady,' 
said Cypros, ' and then you would get more used to 
them.' 

'I shall never be more used to them. Besides, it 
is rude and inhospitable not to see them. Yesterday 
there was an excuse: they were wearied, or 1 had a 
right to suppose they were, with their travelling; and 



TANCRED 321 

to-day, there ought to be an excuse for not receiving 
them to-day. What is it, Cypros ? ' 

'I dare say they will be quite content, if to-day 
you fix the time when you will receive them, sweet 
lady.' 

'But I shall not be content, Cypros. Having seen 
them once, I wish to see them again, and one can- 
not always be walking by accident in the gallery.' 

' Then I would see them to-day, sweet lady. Shall 
I send for the noble Keferinis?' 

'I wish I were Cypros, and you were Hark! 

what is that?' 

"Tis only the antelope, sweet lady.' 

'I thought it was Now tell me, my Cypros, 

which of these two princes do you think is he who 
is one of us ? ' 

'Oh, really, sweet lady, I think they are both so 
handsome!' 

'Yet so unlike,' said the lady. 

'Well, they are unlike,' said Cypros, 'and yet ' 

'And what ?' 

'The fair one has a complexion almost as radiant 
as your own, sweet lady.' 

'And eyes as blue: no, they are too light. And 
so, as there is a likeness, you think he is the one.?' 

'I am sure I wish they were both belonging to 
us,' said Cypros. 

'Ah, me!' said the lady, "tis not the bright-faced 
prince whom I hold to be one of us. No, no, my 
Cypros. Think awhile, sweet girl. The visage, the 
head of the other, have you not seen them before? 
Have you not seen something like them? That head 
so proudly placed upon the shoulders; that hair, that 
hyacinthine hair, that lofty forehead, that proud lip, 



322 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

that face so refined and yet so haughty, does it not 
recall anything? Think, Cypros; think!' 

'It does, sweet lady.' 

'Tell me; whisper it to me; it is a name not to 
be lightly mentioned.' 

Cypros advanced, and bending her head, breathed 
a word in the ear of the lady, who instantly, blush- 
ing deeply, murmured with a faint smile, 'Yes.' 

'It is he, then,' said Cypros, 'who is one of us.' 





CHAPTER LII. 
A Royal Audience. 

UR travellers were speculating, not 
very sanguinely, on the possible 
resources which Gindarics might 
supply for the amusement of a 
week, when, to their great relief, 
they were informed by Keferinis, 
that the Queen had fixed noon, on this the day after 
their arrival, to receive them. And accordingly at 
that time some attendants, not accompanying, how- 
ever, the chief minister, waited on Tancred and Fak- 
redeen, and announced that they were commanded 
to usher them to the royal presence. Quitting their 
apartments, they mounted a flight of steps, which led 
to the wooden gallery, along which they pursued 
their course. At its termination were two sentries 
with their lances. Then they descended a corre- 
sponding flight of stairs and entered a chamber where 
they were received by pages; the next room, of larger 
size, was crowded, and here they remained for a 
few minutes. Then they were ushered into the pres- 
ence. 

The young Queen of the Ansarey could not have 
received them with an air more impassive had she 

(323) 



324 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

been holding a levee at St. James'. Seated on her 
divan, she was clothed in a purple robe; her long 
dark hair descended over her shoulders, and was 
drawn off her white forehead, which was bound 
with a broad circlet of pure gold, and of great an- 
tiquity. On her right hand stood Keferinis, the cap- 
tain of her guard, and a priestly-looking person with 
a long white beard, and then at some distance from 
these three personages, a considerable number of 
individuals, between whose appearance and that 
of her ordinary subjects there was little difference. 
On her left hand were immediately three female at- 
tendants, young and pretty; at some distance from 
them, a troop of female slaves; and again, at a 
still further distance, another body of her subjects in 
their white turbans and their black dresses. The 
chamber was spacious, and rudely painted in the 
Ionic style. 

'It is most undoubtedly requested, and in a vein 
of the most condescending friendship, by the per- 
fectly irresistible Queen, that the princes should be 
seated,' said Keferinis, and accordingly Tancred occu- 
pied his allotted seat on the right of the Queen, 
though at some distance, and the young Emir filled 
his on the left. Fakredeen was dressed in Syrian 
splendour, a blaze of shawls and jewelled arms; but 
Tancred retained on this, as he had done on every 
other occasion, the European dress, though in the 
present instance it assumed a somewhat more bril- 
liant shape than ordinary, in the dark green regimen- 
tals, the rich embroidery, and the flowing plume of 
the Bellamont yeomanry cavalry. 

'You are a prince of the English,' said the Queen 
to Tancred. 



TANCRED 325 

'I am an Englishman,' he replied, 'and a subject 
of our Queen, for we also have the good fortune to 
be ruled over by the young and the fair.' 

'My fathers and the House of Shehaab have been 
ever friends,' she continued, turning to Fakredeen. 

'May they ever continue so!' he replied. 'For if 
the Shehaabs and the Ansarey are of one mind, Syria 
is no longer earth, but indeed paradise.' 

'You live much in ships?' said the Queen, turn- 
ing to Tancred. 

'We are an insular people,' he answered, some- 
what confusedly, but the perfectly-informed Keferinis 
came to the succour both of Tancred and of his sov- 
ereign. 

' The English live in ships only during six months 
of the year, principally when they go to India, the 
rest entirely at their country houses.' 

'Ships are required to take you to India?' said 
her Majesty. 

Tancred bowed assent. 

'Is your Queen about my age?' 

* She was as young as your Majesty when she be- 
gan to reign.' 

'And how long has she reigned?' 
'Some seven years or so.' 
' Has she a castle ? ' 

* Her Majesty generally resides in a very famous 
castle.' 

'Very strong, I suppose?' 
'Strong enough.' 

'The Emir Bescheer remains at Stamboul?' 
'He is now, I believe, at Brusa,' replied Fakre- 
deen. 

'Does he like Brusa ?' 



326 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Not as much at Stamboul.' 

Ms Stamboul the hirgest city in the world?' 

'I apprehend by no means,' said Fakredeen. 

'What is larger?' 

'London is larger, the great city of the English, 
from which the prince comes; Paris is also larger, but 
not so large as London.' 

' How many persons are there in Stamboul ? ' 

'More than half a million.' 

'Have you seen Antakia (Antioch)?' the Queen in- 
quired of Tancred. 

'Not yet.' 

'You have seen Beiroot?' 

'I have.' 

'Antakia is not nearly so great a place as Beiroot,' 
said the Queen; 'yet once Antakia was much larger 
than Stamboul; as large, perhaps, as your great city.' 

'And far more beautiful than either,' said Tancred. 

'Ah! you have heard of these things!' exclaimed 
the Queen, with much animation. ' Now tell me, 
why is Antakia no longer a great city, as great as 
Stamboul and the city of the English, and far more 
beautiful ? ' 

'It is a question that might perplex the wise,' said 
Tancred. 

'I am not wise,' said the Queen, looking earnestly 
at Tancred, 'yet I could solve it.' 

' Would that your Majesty would deign to do so.' 

'There are things to be said, and there are things 
not to be said,' was the reply, and the Queen looked 
at Keferinis. 

' Her Majesty has expressed herself with infinite 
exactitude and with condescending propriety,' said the 
chief minister. 



TANCRED 327 

The Queen was silent for a moment, thoughtful, 
and then waved gracefully her hands; whereupon the 
chamber was immediately cleared. The princes, in- 
structed by Keferinis, alone remained, with the ex- 
ception of the minister, who, at the desire of his 
sovereign, now seated himself, but not on the divan. 
He sat opposite to the Queen on the floor. 

'Princes,' said the Queen, 'you are welcome to 
Gindarics, where nobody ever comes. For we are 
people who wish neither to see nor to be seen. We 
are not like other people, nor do we envy other peo- 
ple. I wish not for the ships of the Queen of the 
English, and my subjects are content to live as their 
fathers lived before them. Our mountains are wild 
and barren; our vales require for their cultivation un- 
ceasing toil. We have no gold or silver, no jewels; 
neither have we silk. But we have some beautiful 
and consoling thoughts, and more than thoughts, 
which are shared by all of us and open to all of us, 
and which only we can value or comprehend. When 
Darkush, who dwells at Damascus, and was the serv- 
ant of my father, sent to us the ever-faithful mes- 
senger, and said that there were princes who wished 
to confer with us, he knew well it was vain to send 
here men who would talk of the English and the 
Egyptians, of the Porte and of the nations of Fran- 
guestan. These things to us are like the rind of fruit. 
Neither do we care for cottons, nor for things which 
are sought for in the cities of the plains, and it may 
be, noble Emir, cherished also in the mountains of 
Lebanon. This is not Lebanon, but the mountains of 
the Ansarey, who are as they have ever been, before 
the name of Turk or English was known in Syria, 
and who will remain as they are, unless that happens 



328 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

which may never happen, but which is too beautiful 
not to believe may arrive. Therefore I speak to you 
with frankness, princes of strange countries: Dar- 
kush, the servant of my father, and also mine, told 
me, by the ever-faithful messenger, that it was not 
of these things, which are to us like water spilt on 
sand, that you wished to confer, but that there were 
things to be said which ought to be uttered. There- 
fore it is 1 sent back the faithful messenger, saying, 
"Send then these princes to Gindarics, since their 
talk is not of things which come and go, making 
a noise on the coast and in the cities of the plains, 
and then passing away." These we infinitely de- 
spise; but the words of truth uttered in the spirit of 
friendship will last, if they be grave, and on matters 
which authorise journeys made by princes to visit 
queens.' 

Her Majesty ceased, and looked at Keferinis, who 
bowed profound approbation. Tancred and Fakre- 
deen, also exchanged glances, but the Emir waved his 
hand, signifying his wish that Tancred should reply, 
who, after a moment's hesitation, with an air of great 
deference, thus ventured to express himself: 

'It seems to me and to my friend, the Prince of 
the Lebanon, that we have listened to the words of 
wisdom. They are in every respect just. We know 
not, ourselves, Darkush, but he was rightly informed 
when he apprised your Majesty that it was not upon 
ordinary topics, either political or commercial, that 
we desired to visit Gindarics. Nor was it out of such 
curiosity as animates travellers. For we are not 
travellers, but men who have a purpose which we 
wish to execute. The world, that, since its creation, 
has owned the spiritual supremacy of Asia, which is 



TANCRED 329 

but natural, since Asia is the only portion of the 
world which the Creator of that world has deigned to 
visit, and in which he has ever conferred with man, 
is unhappily losing its faith in those ideas and convic- 
tions that hitherto have governed the human race. 
We think, therefore, the time has arrived when Asia 
should make one of its periodical and appointed efforts 
to reassert that supremacy. But though we are act- 
ing, as we believe, under a divine impulse, it is our 
duty to select the most fitting human agents to ac- 
complish a celestial mission. We have thought, there- 
fore, that it should devolve on Syria and Arabia, 
countries in which our God has even dwelt, and with 
which he has been from the earliest days in direct 
and regular communication, to undertake the solemn 
task. Two races of men, alike free, one inhabiting the 
desert, the other the mountains, untainted by any of 
the vices of the plains, and the virgin vigour of their 
intelligence not dwarfed by the conventional supersti- 
tions of towns and cities, one prepared at once to 
supply an unrivalled cavalry, the other an army ready 
equipped of intrepid foot-soldiers, appear to us to be 
indicated as the natural and united conquerors of the 
world. We wish to conquer that world, with angels 
at our head, in order that we may establish the happi- 
ness of man by a divine dominion, and crushing the 
political atheism that is now desolating existence, 
utterly extinguish the grovelling tyranny of self-gov- 
ernment.' 

The Queen of the Ansarey listened with deep and 
agitated attention to Tancred. When he had con- 
cluded, she said, after a moment's pause, *I believe 
also in the necessity of the spiritual supremacy of our 
Asia. And since it has ceased, it seems not to me that 



330 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

man and man's life have been either as great or as 
beautiful as heretofore. What you have said assures 
me that it is well that you have come hither. But 
when you speak of Arabia, of what God is it you 
speak ? ' 

' I speak of the only God, the Creator of all things, 
the God who spoke on the Arabian Mount Sinai, 
and expiated our sins upon the Syrian Mount Cal- 
vary.' 

'There is also Mount Olympus,' said the Queen, 
'which is in Anatolia. Once the gods dwelt there.' 

'The gods of poets,' said Tancred. 

'No; the gods of the people; who loved the 
people, and whom the people loved.' 

There was a pause, broken by the Queen, who, 
looking at her minister, said, 'Noble Keferinis, the 
thoughts of these princes are divine, and in every re- 
spect becoming celestial things. Is it not well that 
the gates of the beautiful and the sacred should not 
be closed?' 

' In every sense, irresistible Queen, it is well that 
the gates of the beautiful and the sacred should not 
be closed.' 

'Then let them bring garlands. Princes,' the Queen 
continued, 'what the eye of no stranger has looked 
upon, you shall now behold. This also is Asian and 
divine.' 

Immediately the chamber again filled. The Queen, 
looking at the two princes and bowing, rose from 
her seat. They instantly followed her example. One 
came forward, offering to the Queen, and then to 
each of them, a garland. Garlands were also taken 
by Keferinis and a few others. Cypres and her com- 
panions walked first, then Keferinis and one who had 



TANCRED 



33^ 



stood near the royal divan; the Queen, between her 
two guests, followed, and after her a small and or- 
dered band. 

They stopped before a lofty portal of bronze, evi- 
dently of ancient art. This opened into a covered 
and excavated way, in some respects similar to that 
which had led them directly to the castle of Gin- 
darics; but, although obscure, not requiring artificial 
light, yet it was of no inconsiderable length. It 
emerged upon a platform cut out of the natural rock; 
on all sides were steep cHffs, above them the bright 
blue sky. The ravine appeared to be closed on every 
side. 

The opposite cliflF, at the distance of several hun- 
dred yards, reached by a winding path, presented, at 
first, the appearance of the front of an ancient tem- 
ple; and Tancred, as he approached it, perceived that 
the hand of art had assisted the development of an 
imitation of nature: a pediment, a deep portico, sup- 
ported by Ionic columns, and a flight of steps, were 
carved out of the cliflF, and led into vast caverns, 
which art also had converted into lofty and magnifi- 
cent chambers. When they had mounted the steps, 
the Queen and her companions lifted their garlands 
to the skies, and joined in a chorus, solemn and 
melodious, but which did not sound as the language 
of Syria. Passing through the portico, Tancred found 
himself apparently in a vast apartment, where he be- 
held a strange spectacle. 

At the first glance it seemed that, ranged on blocks 
of the surrounding mountains, were a variety of 
sculptured figures of costly materials and exquisite 
beauty; forms of heroic majesty and ideal grace; and, 
themselves serene and unimpassioned, filling the 



232 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

minds of the beholders with awe and veneration. It 
was not until his eye was accustomed to the atmos- 
phere, and his mind had in some degree recovered 
from the first strange surprise, that Tancred gradually 
recognised the fair and famous images over which 
his youth had so long and so early pondered. 
Stole over his spirit the countenance august, with the 
flowing beard and the lordly locks, sublime on his 
ivory throne, in one hand the ready thunderbolt, in 
the other the cypress sceptre; at his feet the watch- 
ful eagle with expanded wings: stole over the spirit 
of the gazing pilgrim, each shape of that refined and 
elegant hierarchy made for the worship of clear skies 
and sunny lands; goddess and god, genius and 
nymph, and faun, all that the wit and heart of man 
can devise and create, to represent his genius and 
his passion, all that the myriad developments of a 
beautiful nature can require for their personification, 
A beautiful and sometimes flickering light played 
over the sacred groups and figures, softening the rav- 
ages of time, and occasionally investing them with, 
as it were, a celestial movement. 

'The gods of the Greeks!' exclaimed Tancred. 

'The gods of the Ansarey,' said the Queen; 'the 
gods of my fathers!' 

'I am filled with a sweet amazement,' murmured 
Tancred. ' Life is stranger than 1 deemed. My soul 
is, as it were, unsphered.' 

'Yet you know them to be gods,' said the Queen; 
'and the Emir of the Lebanon does not know them 
to be gods ?' 

'I feel that they are such,' said Fakredeen. 

'How is this, then?' said the Queen. 'How is it 
that you, the child of a northern isle ' 



TANCRED 333 

'Should recognise the Olympian Jove,' said Tan- 
cred. 'It seems strange; but from my earliest youth 
I learnt these things.' 

'Ah, then,' murmured the Queen to herself, and 
with an expression of the greatest satisfaction, 'Dar- 
kush was rightly informed; he is one of us.' 

'I behold then, at last, the gods of the Ansarey,' 
said Fakredeen. 

'All that remains of Antioch, noble Emir; of Anti- 
och the superb, with its hundred towers, and its 
sacred groves and fanes of flashing beauty.' 

'Unhappy Asia!' exclaimed the Emir; 'thou hast 
indeed fallen!' 

'When all was over,' said the Queen; 'when the 
people refused to sacrifice, and the gods, indignant, 
quitted earth, I hope not for ever, the faithful few 
fled to these mountains with the sacred images, and 
we have cherished them. I told you we had beauti- 
ful and consoling thoughts, and more than thoughts. 
All else is lost, our wealth, our arts, our luxury, our 
invention, all have vanished. The niggard earth 
scarcely yields us a subsistence; we dress like Kurds, 
feed hardly as well; but if we were to quit these 
mountains, and wander like them on the plains with 
our ample flocks, we should lose our sacred images, 
all the traditions that we yet cherish in our souls, 
that in spite of our hard lives preserve us from being 
barbarians; a sense of the beautiful and the lofty, and 
the divine hope that, when the rapidly consummating 
degradation of Asia has been fulfilled, mankind will 
return again to those gods u'ho made the earth beau- 
tiful and happy; and that they, in their celestial 
mercy, may revisit that world which, without them, 
has become a howling wilderness.' 



334 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Lady,' said Tancred, with much emotion, 'we 
must, with your permission, speak of these things. 
My heart is at present too full.' 

'Come hither,' said the Queen, in a voice of great 
softness; and she led Tancred away. 

They entered a chamber of much smaller dimen- 
sions, which might be looked upon as a chapel an- 
nexed to the cathedral or Pantheon which they had 
quitted. At each end of it was a statue. They 
paused before one. It was not larger than life, of 
ivory and gold; the colour purer than could possibly 
have been imagined, highly polished, and so little in- 
jured, that at a distance the general effect was not in 
the least impaired. 

'Do you know that?' asked the Queen, as she 
looked at the statue, and then she looked at Tancred. 

'I recognise the god of poetry and light,' said 
Tancred; 'Phoebus Apollo.' 

'Our god: the god of Antioch, the god of the 
sacred grove! Who could look upon him, and doubt 
his deity!' 

'Is this indeed the figure,' murmured Tancred, 
'before which a hundred steers have bled? before 
which libations of honeyed wine were poured from 
golden goblets? that lived in a heaven of incense?' 

'Ah! you know all.' 

'Angels watch over us!' said Tancred, 'or my 
brain will turn. And who is this?' 

'One before whom the pilgrims of the world once 
kneeled. This is the Syrian goddess; the Venus of 
our land, but called among us by a name which, by 
her favour, I also bear, Astarte.' 




CHAPTER LIII. 
Fakredeen's Plots. 

ND when did men cease from wor- 
shipping them?' asked Fakredeen 
of Tancred; 'before the Prophet?' 
'When truth descended from 
Heaven in the person of Christ 
Jesus.' 

' But truth had descended from Heaven before 
Jesus,' replied Fakredeen; 'since, as you tell me, God 
spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, and since then to 
many of the prophets and the princes of Israel.' 

'Of whom Jesus was one,' said Tancred; 'the 
descendant of King David as well as the Son of God. 
But through this last and greatest of their princes it 
was ordained that the inspired Hebrew mind should 
mould and govern the world. Through Jesus God 
spoke to the Gentiles, and not to the tribes of Israel 
only. That is the great worldly difference between 
Jesus and his inspired predecessors. Christianity is 
Judaism for the multitude, but still it is Judaism, and 
its development was the death-blow of the Pagan 
idolatry.' 

'Gentiles,' murmured Fakredeen; 'Gentiles! you 
are a Gentile, Tancred?' 

(335) 



336 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Alas! I am,' he answered, 'sprung from a horde 
of Baltic pirates, who never were heard of during the 
greater annals of the world, a descent which 1 have 
been educated to believe was the greatest of honours. 
What we should have become, had not the Syro- 
Arabian creeds formed our minds, I dare not contem- 
plate. Probably we should have perished in mutual 
destruction. However, though rude and modern Gen- 
tiles, unknown to the Apostles, we also were in time 
touched with the sacred symbol, and originally en- 
dowed with an organisation of a high class, for our 
ancestors wandered from Caucasus; we have become 
kings and princes.' 

'What a droll thing is history,' said Fakredeen. 
'Ah! if I were only acquainted with it, my educa- 
tion would be complete. Should you call me a Gen- 
tile?' 

' I have great doubts whether such an appellation 
could be extended to the descendants of Ishmael. I 
always look upon you as a member of the sacred 
race. It is a great thing for any man; for you it may 
tend to empire.' 

'Was Julius Caesar a Gentile?' 

' Unquestionably.' 

'And Iskander?' (Alexander of Macedon.) 

'No doubt; the two most illustrious Gentiles that 
ever existed, and representing the two great races on 
the shores of the Mediterranean, to which the apos- 
tolic views were first directed.' 

'Well, their blood, though Gentile, led to empire,' 
said Fakredeen. 

' But what are their conquests to those of Jesus 
Christ?' said Tancred, with great animation. 'Where 
are their dynasties ? where their subjects ? They were 



TANCRED 337 

both deified: who burns incense to them now? Their 
descendants, both Greek and Roman, bow before the 
altars of the house of David. The house of David is 
worshipped at Rome itself, at every seat of great and 
growing empire in the world, at London, at St. 
Petersburg, at New York. Asia alone is faithless to 
the Asian; but Asia has been overrun by Turks and 
Tatars. For nearly five hundred years the true Orien- 
tal mind has been enthralled. Arabia alone has re- 
mained free and faithful to the divine tradition. From 
its bosom we shall go forth and sweep away the 
moulding remnants of the Tataric system; and then, 
when the East has resumed its indigenous intelli- 
gence, when angels and prophets again mingle with 
humanity, the sacred quarter of the globe will recover 
its primeval and divine supremacy; it will act upon 
the modern empires, and the faint-hearted faith of 
Europe, which is but the shadow of a shade, will be- 
come as vigorous as befits men who are in sustained 
communication with the Creator.' 

* But suppose,' said Fakredeen, in a captious tone 
that was unusual with him, ' suppose, when the Ta- 
taric system is swept away, Asia reverts to those 
beautiful divinities that we beheld this morning?' 

More than once, since they quitted the presence of 
Astarte, had Fakredeen harped upon this idea. From 
that interview the companions had returned moody 
and unusually silent. Strange to say, there seemed a 
tacit understanding between them to converse little 
on that subject which mainly engrossed their minds. 
Their mutual remarks on Astarte were few and con- 
strained; a little more diffused upon the visit to the 
temple; but they chiefly kept up the conventional 
chat of companionship by rather commonplace ob- 



338 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

servations on Keferinis and other incidents and per- 
sons comparatively of little interest and importance. 

After their audience, they dined with the minister, 
not exactly in the manner of Downing Street, nor 
even with the comparative luxury of Canobia; but 
the meal was an incident, and therefore agreeable. A 
good pilaflf was more acceptable than some partridges 
dressed with oil and honey: but all Easterns are tem- 
perate, and travel teaches abstinence to the Franks. 
Neither Fakredeen nor Tancred were men who criti- 
cised a meal: bread, rice, and coffee, a bird or a fish, 
easily satisfied them. The Emir affected the Moslem 
when the minister offered him the wine of the 
mountains, which was harsh and rough after the de- 
licious Vino d'Oro of Lebanon; but Tancred contrived 
to drink the health of Queen Astarte without any wry 
expression of countenance. 

'I believe,' said Keferinis, 'that the English, in 
their island of London, drink only to women; the 
other natives of Franguestan chiefly pledge men; we 
look upon both as barbarous.' 

'At any rate, you worship the god of wine,' re- 
marked Tancred, who never attempted to correct the 
self-complacent minister. ' 1 observed to-day the 
statue of Bacchus.' 

'Bacchus!' said Keferinis, with a smile, half of 
inquiry, half of commiseration. ' Bacchus: an English 
name, I apprehend! All our gods came from the an- 
cient Antakia before either the Turks or the English 
were heard of. Their real names are in every respect 
sacred; nor will they be uttered, even to the Ansarey, 
until after the divine initiation has been performed in 
the perfectly admirable and inexpressibly delightful 
mysteries,' which meant, in simpler tongue, that Kef- 



TANCRED 339 

erinis was entirely ignorant of the subject on which 
he was talking. 

After their meal, Keferinis, proposing that in the 
course of the day they should fly one of the Queen's 
hawks, left them, when the conversation, of which we 
have given a snatch, occurred. Yet, as we have ob- 
served, they were on the whole moody and unusually 
silent. Fakredeen in particular was wrapped in reverie, 
and when he spoke, it was always in reference to the 
singular spectacle of the morning. His musing forced 
him to inquiry, having never before heard of the 
Olympian heirarchy, nor of the woods of Daphne, 
nor of the bright lord of the silver bow. 

Why were they moody and silent? 

With regard to Lord Montacute, the events of the 
morning might sufficiently account for the gravity of 
his demeanour, for he was naturally of a thoughtful 
and brooding temperament. This unexpected intro- 
duction to Olympus was suggestive of many reflec- 
tions to one so habituated to muse over divine 
influences. Nor need it be denied that the character 
of the Queen greatly interested him. Her mind was 
already attuned to heavenly thoughts. She already 
believed that she was fulfilling a sacred mission. 
Tancred could not be blind to the importance of such 
a personage as Astarte in the great drama of divine 
regeneration, which was constantly present to his 
consideration. Her conversion might be as weighty 
as ten victories. He was not insensible to the efficacy 
of feminine influence in the dissemination of religious 
truth, nor unaware how much the greatest develop- 
ment of the Arabian creeds, in which the Almighty 
himself deigned to become a personal actor, was as- 
sisted by the sacred spell of woman. It is not the 



340 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Empress Helene alone who has rivalled, or rather 
surpassed, the exploits of the most illustrious apostles. 
The three great empires of the age, France, England, 
and Russia, are indebted for their Christianity to fe- 
male lips. We all remember the salutary influence of 
Clotilde and Bertha which bore the traditions of the 
Jordan to the Seine and the Thames: it should not 
be forgotten that to the fortunate alliance of Waldimir, 
the Duke of Moscovy, with the sister of the Greek 
Emperor Basil, is to be ascribed the remarkable cir- 
cumstance, that the intellectual development of all the 
Russias has been conducted on Arabian principles. It 
was the fair Giselle, worthy successor of the soft- 
hearted women of Galilee, herself the sister of the 
Emperor Henry the Second, who opened the mind of 
her husband, the King of Hungary, to the deep wis- 
dom of the Hebrews, to the laws of Moses and the 
precepts of Jesus. Poland also found an apostle and 
a queen in the sister of the Duke of Bohemia, and 
who revealed to the Sarmatian Micislas the ennobling 
mysteries of Sinai and of Calvary. 

Sons of Israel, when you recollect that you created 
Christendom, you may pardon the Christians even 
their autos da fe ! 

Fakredeen Shehaab, Emir of Canobia, and lineal 
descendant of the standard-bearer of the Prophet, had 
not such faith in Arabian principles as to dream of 
converting the Queen of the Ansarey. Quite the re- 
verse; the Queen of the Ansarey had converted him. 
From the first moment he beheld Astarte, she had ex- 
ercised over him that magnetic influence of which he 
was peculiarly susceptible, and by which Tancred at 
once attracted and controlled him. But Astarte added 
to this influence a power to which the Easterns in 



TANCRED 341 

general do not very easily bow: the influence of sex. 
With the exception of Eva, woman had never guided 
the spirit or moulded the career of Fakredeen; and, in 
her instance, the sovereignty had been somewhat im- 
paired by that acquaintance of the cradle, which has a 
tendency to enfeeble the ideal, though it may strengthen 
the affections. But Astarte rose upon him commanding 
and complete, a star whose gradual formation he had 
not watched, and whose unexpected brilliancy might 
therefore be more strii^ing even than the superior splen- 
dour which he had habitually contemplated. Young, 
beautiful, queenly, impassioned, and eloquent, sur- 
rounded by the accessories that influence the imagina- 
tion, and invested with fascinating mystery, Fakredeen, 
silent and enchanted, had yielded his spirit to Astarte, 
even before she revealed to his unaccustomed and aston- 
ished mind the godlike forms of her antique theogony. 
Eva and Tancred had talked to him of gods; 
Astarte had shown them to him. All visible images 
of their boasted divinities of Sinai and of Calvary 
with which he was acquainted were enshrined over 
the altars of the convents of Lebanon. He contrasted 
those representations without beauty or grace, so 
mean, and mournful, and spiritless, or if endued with 
attributes of power, more menacing than majestic, and 
morose rather than sublime, with those shapes of 
symmetry, those visages of immortal beauty, serene 
yet full of sentiment, on which he had gazed that 
morning with a holy rapture. The Queen had said 
that, besides Mount Sinai and Mount Calvary, there 
was also Mount Olympus. It was true; even Tan- 
cred had not challenged her assertion. And the le- 
gends of Olympus were as old as, nay, older than, 
those of the convent or the mosques. 



342 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

This was no mythic fantasy of the beautiful Astarte; 
the fond tradition of a family, a race, even a nation. 
These were not the gods merely of the mountains: 
they had been, as they deserved to be, the gods of a 
great world, of great nations, and of great men. 
They were the gods of Alexander and of Caius Julius; 
they were the gods under whose divine administra- 
tion Asia had been powerful, rich, luxurious and 
happy. They were the gods who had covered the 
coasts and plains with magnificent cities, crowded 
the midland ocean with golden galleys, and filled the 
provinces that were now a chain of wilderness and 
desert with teeming and thriving millions. No won- 
der the Ansarey were faithful to such deities. The 
marvel was why men should ever have deserted 
them. But man had deserted them, and man was 
unhappy. All, Eva, Tancred, his own consciousness, 
the surrounding spectacles of his life, assured him 
that man was unhappy, degraded, or discontented; at 
all events, miserable. He was not surprised that a 
Syrian should be unhappy, even a Syrian prince, for 
he had no career; he was not surprised that the Jews 
were unhappy, because they were the most perse- 
cuted of the human race, and in all probability, very 
justly so, for such an exception as Eva proved noth- 
ing; but here was an Englishman, young, noble, very 
rich, with every advantage of nature and fortune, and 
he had come out to Syria to tell them that all Europe 
was as miserable as themselves. What if their misery 
had been caused by their deserting those divinities 
who had once made them so happy? 

A great question; Fakredeen indulged in endless 
combinations while he smoked countless nargilehs. If 
religion were to cure the world, suppose they tried 



TANCRED 343 

this ancient and once popular faith, so very popular 
in Syria. The Queen of the Ansarey could command 
five-and-twenty thousand approved warriors, and the 
Emir of the Lebanon could summon a host, if not as 
disciplined, far more numerous. Fakredeen, in a 
frenzy of reverie, became each moment more prac- 
tical. Asian supremacy, cosmopolitan regeneration, 
and theocratic equality, all gradually disappeared. An 
independent Syrian kingdom, framed and guarded by 
a hundred thousand sabres, rose up before him; an 
established Olympian religion, which the Druses, at 
his instigation, would embrace, and toleration for the 
Maronites till he could bribe Bishop Nicodemus to ar- 
range a general conformity, and convert his great 
principal from the Patriarch into the Pontiff of An- 
tioch. The Jews might remain, provided they nego- 
tiated a loan which should consolidate the Olympian 
institutions and establish the Gentile dynasty of Fakre- 
deen and Astarte. 




CHAPTER LIV. 




AsTARTE IS Jealous. 

HEN Fakredeen bade Tancred as 
usual good-night, his voice was dif- 
ferent from its accustomed tones; 
he had rephed to Tancred with 
asperity several times during the 
evening; and when he was separated 
from his companion, he felt relieved. All unconscious 
of these changes and symptoms was the heir of Bella- 
mont. Though grave, one indeed who never laughed 
and seldom smiled, Tancred was blessed with the 
rarest of all virtues, a singularly sweet temper. He 
was grave, because he was always thinking, and 
thinking of great deeds. But his heart was soft, and 
his nature most kind, and remarkably regardful of the 
feelings of others. To wound them, however unin- 
tentionally, would occasion him painful disturbance. 
Though naturally rapid in the perception of character, 
his inexperience of life, and the self-examination in 
which he was so frequently absorbed, tended to blunt 
a little his observation of others. With a generous fail- 
ing, which is not uncommon, he was prepared to give 
those whom he loved credit for the virtues which he 

(344) 



TANCRED 345 

himself possessed, and the sentiments which he himself 
extended to them. Being profound, steadfast, and most 
loyal in his feelings, he was incapable of suspecting 
that his elected friend could entertain sentiments to- 
wards him less deep, less earnest, and less faithful. 
The change in the demeanour of the Emir was, there- 
fore, unnoticed by him. And what might be called 
the sullen irritability of Fakredeen was encountered 
with the usual gentleness and total disregard of self 
which always distinguished the behaviour of Lord 
Montacute. 

The next morning they were invited by Astarte to 
a hawking party, and, leaving the rugged ravines, 
they descended into a softer and more cultivated 
country, where they found good sport. Fakredeen 
was an accomplished falconer, and loved to display 
his skill before the Queen. Tancred was quite un- 
practised, but Astarte seemed resolved that he should 
become experienced in the craft among her mountains, 
which did not please the Emir, as he caracoled in 
sumptuous dress on a splendid steed, with the superb 
falcon resting on his wrist. 

The princes dined again with Keferinis; that, in- 
deed, was to be their custom during their stay; aft- 
erwards, accompanied by the minister, they repaired 
to the royal divan, where they had received a gen- 
eral invitation. Here they found Astarte alone, with 
the exception of Cypros and her companions, who 
worked with their spindles apart; and here, on the 
pretext of discussing the high topics on which they 
had repaired to Gindarics, there was much conversa- 
tion on many subjects. Thus passed one, two, and 
even three days; thus, in general, would their hours 
be occupied at Gindarics. In the morning the hawks, 



346 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

or a visit to some green valley, which was blessed 
with a stream and beds of oleander, and groves of 
acacia or sycamore. Fakredeen had no cause to com- 
plain of the demeanour of Astarte towards him, for it 
was most gracious and encouraging. Indeed, he 
pleased her; and she was taken, as many had been, 
by the ingenuous modesty, the unaffected humility, 
the tender and touching deference of his manner; he 
seemed to watch her every glance, and hang upon 
her every accent: his sympathy with her was perfect; 
he agreed with every sentiment and observation that 
escaped her. Blushing, boyish, unsophisticated, yet 
full of native grace, and evidently gifted with the 
most amiable disposition, it was impossible not to 
view with interest, and even regard, one so young 
and so innocent. 

But while the Emir had no cause to be dissatis- 
fied with the demeanour of Astarte to himself, he 
could not be unaware that her carriage to Tancred 
was different, and he doubted whether the difference 
was in his favour. He hung on the accents of As- 
tarte, but he remarked that the Queen hung upon 
the accents of Tancred, who, engrossed with great 
ideas, and full of a great purpose, was unconscious 
of what did not escape the lynx-like glance of his 
companion. However, Fakredeen was not, under any 
circumstances, easily disheartened; in the present case, 
there were many circumstances to encourage him. 
This was a great situation; there was room for com- 
binations. He felt that he was not unf^ivoured by 
Astarte; he had confidence, and a just confidence, in 
his power of fascination. He had to combat a rival, 
who was, perhaps, not thinking of conquest; at any 
rate, who was unconscious of success. Even had he 



TANCRED 347 

the advantage, which Fakredeen was not now dis- 
posed to admit, he might surely be baffled by a com- 
petitor with a purpose, devoting his whole intelligence 
to his object, and hesitating at no means to accom- 
plish it. 

Fakredeen became great friends with Keferinis. 
He gave up his time and attentions much to that 
great personage; anointed him with the most deli- 
cious flattery, most dexterously applied; consulted him 
on great affairs which had no existence; took his ad- 
vice on conjunctures which never could occur; assured 
Keferinis that, in his youth, the Emir Bescheer had 
impressed on him the importance of cultivating the 
friendly feelings and obtaining the support of the dis- 
tinguished minister of the Ansarey; gave him some 
jewels, and made him enormous promises. 

On the fourth day of the visit, Fakredeen found 
himself alone with Astarte, at least, without the pres- 
ence of Tancred, whom Keferinis had detained in his 
progress to the royal apartment. The young Emir 
had pushed on, and gained an opportunity which he 
had long desired. 

They were speaking of the Lebanon; Fakredeen 
had been giving Astarte, at her request, a sketch of 
Canobia, and intimating his inexpressible gratification 
were she to honour his castle with a visit; when, 
somewhat abruptly, in a suppressed voice, and in a 
manner not wholly free from embarrassment, Astarte 
said, 'What ever surprises me is, that Darkush, who 
is my servant at Damascus, should have communi- 
cated, by the faithful messenger, that one of the 
princes seeking to visit Gindarics was of our beauti- 
ful and ancient faith; for the Prince of England has 
assured me that nothing was more unfounded or in- 



348 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

deed impossible; tliat the faith, ancient and beautiful, 
never prevailed in the land of his fathers; and that 
the reason why he was acquainted with the god-like 
forms is, that in his country it is the custom (custom 
to me most singular, and indeed incomprehensible) to 
educate the youth by teaching them the ancient 
poems of the Greeks, poems quite lost to us, but in 
which are embalmed the sacred legends.' 

'We ought never to be surprised at anything that 
is done by the English,' observed Fakredeen; 'who 
are, after all, in a certain sense, savages. Their coun- 
try produces nothing; it is an island, a mere rock, 
larger than Malta, but not so well fortified. Every- 
thing they require is imported from other countries; 
they get their corn from Odessa, and their wine from 
the ports of Spain. I have been assured at Beiroot 
that they do not grow even their own cotton, but 
that I can hardly believe. Even their religion is an 
exotic; and as they are indebted for that to Syria, it 
is not surprising that they should import their educa- 
tion from Greece.' 

'Poor people!' exclaimed the Queen; 'and yet 
they travel; they wish to improve themselves?' 

'Darkush, however,' continued Fakredeen, without 
noticing the last observation of Astarte, 'was not 
wrongly informed.' 

'Not wrongly informed?' 

'No: one of the princes who wished to visit 
Gindarics was, in a certain sense, of the ancient and 
beautiful faith, but it was not the Prince of the 
English.' 

' What are these pigeons that you are flying with- 
out letters!' exclaimed Astarte, looking very per- 
plexed. 



TANCRED 349 

'Ah! beautiful Astarte,' said Fakredeen, with a 
sigh; 'you did not know my mother.' 

' How should I know your mother, Emir of the 
castles of Lebanon ? Have I ever left these moun- 
tains, which are dearer to me than the pyramids of 
Egypt to the great Pasha? Have I ever looked upon 
your women, Maronite or Druse, walking in white 
sheets, as if they were the children of ten thousand 
ghouls; with horns on their heads, as if they were 
the wild horses of the desert ? ' 

'Ask Keferinis,' said Fakredeen, still sighing; 'he 
has been at Bteddeen, the court of the Emir Bescheer. 
He knew my mother, at least by memory. My 
mother, beautiful Astarte, was an Ansarey.' 

'Your mother was an Ansarey!' repeated Astarte, 
in a tone of infinite surprise; 'your mother an 
Ansarey? Of what family was she a child?' 

'Ah!' replied Fakredeen, 'there it is; that is the 
secret sorrow of my life. A mystery hangs over my 
mother, for I lost both my parents in extreme child- 
hood; I was at her heart,' he added, in a broken 
voice, ' and amid outrage, tumult, and war. Of 
whom was my mother the child? I am here to dis- 
cover that, if possible. Her race and her beautiful 
religion have been the dream of my life. All I have 
prayed for has been to recognise her kindred and to 
behold her gods.' 

'It is very interesting,' murmured the Queen. 

'It is more than interesting,' sighed Fakredeen. 
'Ah! beautiful Astarte! if you knew all, if you could 
form even the most remote idea of what I have 
suffered for this unknown faith;' and a passionate 
tear quivered on the radiant cheek of the young 
prince. 



350 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'And yet you came here to preach the doctrines 
of another,' said Astarte. 

'I came here to preach the doctrines of another!' 
replied Fakredeen, with an expression of contempt; 
his nostril dilated, his lip curled with scorn. 'This 
mad Englishman came here to preach the doctrines of 
another creed, and one with which it seems to me, 
he has as little connection as his frigid soil has with 
palm trees. They produce them, I am told, in houses 
of glass, and they force their foreign faith in the same 
manner; but, though they have temples, and churches, 
and mosques, they confess they have no miracles; 
they admit that they never produced a prophet; they 
own that no God ever spoke to their people, or 
visited their land; and yet this race, so peculiarly fa- 
voured by celestial communication, aspire to be mis- 
sionaries!' 

'1 have much misapprehended you,' said Astarte; 
' 1 thought you were both embarked in a great 
cause.' 

'Ah, you learnt that from Darkush!' quickly re- 
plied Fakredeen. 'You see, beautiful Astarte, that I 
have no personal acquaintance with Darkush. It was 
the intendant of my companion who was his friend; 
and it is through him that Darkush has learnt any- 
thing that he has communicated. The mission, the 
project, was not mine; but when I found my comrade 
had the means, which had hitherto evaded me, of 
reaching Gindarics, I threw no obstacles in his 
crotchety course. On the contrary, I embraced the 
opportunity even with fervour, and far from discour- 
aging my friend from views to which I know he is 
fatally, even ridiculously, wedded, 1 looked forward to 
this expedition as the possible means of diverting his 



TANCRED 351 

mind from some opinions, and, I might add, some 
influences, which I am persuaded can eventually en- 
tail upon him nothing but disappointment and dis- 
grace.' And here Fakredeen shook his head, with 
that air of confidential mystery which so cleverly 
piques curiosity. 

'Whatever may be his fate,' said Astarte, in atone 
of seriousness, ' the English prince does not seem to 
me to be a person who could ever experience dis- 
grace.' 

'No, no,' quickly replied his faithful friend; 'of 
course I did not speak of personal dishonour. He is 
extremely proud and rash, and not in any way a 
practical man; but he is not a person who ever 
would do anything to be sent to the bagnio or the 
galleys. What I mean by disgrace is, that he is 
mixed up with transactions, and connected with per- 
sons who will damage, cheapen, in a worldly sense 
dishonour him, destroy all his sources of power and 
influence. For instance, now, in his country, in Eng- 
land, a Jew is never permitted to enter England; they 
may settle in Gibraltar, but in England, no. Well, it 
is perfectly well known among all those who care 
about these affairs, that this enterprise of his, this 
religious-politico-military adventure, is merely under- 
taken because he happens to be desperately enam- 
oured of a Jewess at Damascus, whom he cannot 
carry home as his bride.' 

'Enamoured of a Jewess at Damascus!' said As- 
tarte, turning pale. 

'To folly, to frenzy; she is at the bottom of the 
whole of this affair; she talks Cabala to him, and he 
Nazareny to her; and so, between them, they have in- 
vented this grand scheme, the conquest of Asia, per- 



352 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

haps the world, with our Syrian sabres, and we are 
to be rewarded for our pains by eating passover 
cakes.' 

'What are they?' 

' Festival bread of the Hebrews, made in the new 
moon, with the milk of he-goats.' 

'What horrors! ' 

'What a reward for conquest!' 

'Will the Queen of the English let one of her 
princes marry a Jewess .? ' 

'Never; he will be beheaded, and she will be 
burnt aUve, eventually; but, in the meantime, a great 
deal of mischief may occur, unless we stop it.' 

'It certainly should be stopped.* 

'What amuses me most in this affair,' continued 
Fakredeen, 'is the cool way in which this English- 
man comes to us for our assistance. First, he is at 
Canobia, then at Gindarics; we are to do the busi- 
ness, and Syria is spoken of as if it were nothing. 
Now the fact is, Syria is the only practical feature of 
the case. There is no doubt that, if we were all 
agreed, if Lebanon and the Ansarey were to unite, 
we could clear Syria of the Turks, conquer the plain, 
and carry the whole coast in a campaign, and no one 
would ever interfere to disturb us. Why should 
they ? The Turks could not, and the natives of Fran- 
guestan would not. Leave me to manage them. 
There is nothing in the world I so revel in as hocus- 
sing Guizot and Aberdeen. You never heard of 
Guizot and Aberdeen ? They are the two Reis Eflfen- 
dis of the King of the French and the Queen of the 
English. I sent them an archbishop last year, one of 
my fellows, Archbishop Murad, who led them a 
pretty dance. They nearly made me King of the 



TANCRED 3S3 

Lebanon, to put an end to disturbances which never 
existed except in the venerable Murad's representa- 
tions.' 

'These are strange things! Has she charms, this 
Jewess ? Very beautiful, I suppose ? ' 

'The Englishman vows so; he is always raving of 
her; talks of her in his sleep.' 

'As you say, it would indeed be strange to draw 
our sabres for a Jewess. Is she dark or fair.?' 

'1 think, when he writes verses to her, he always 
calls her a moon or a star; that smacks nocturnal and 
somewhat sombre.' 

'I detest the Jews; but I have heard their women 
are beautiful.' 

' We will banish them all from our kingdom of 
Syria,' said Fakredeen, looking at Astarte earnestly. 

'Why, if we are to make a struggle, it should 
be for something. There have been Syrian king- 
doms.' 

'And shall be, beauteous Queen, and you shall 
rule them. I believe now the dream of my life will 
be realised.' 

' Why, what's that ? ' 

' My mother's last aspiration, the dying legacy of 
her passionate soul, known only to me, and never 
breathed to human being until this moment.' 

'Then you recollect your mother.?' 

'It was my nurse, long since dead, who was the 
depositary of the injunction, and in due time conveyed 
it to me.' 

' And what was it ? ' 

' To raise, at Deir el Kamar, the capital of our 
district, a marble temple to the Syrian goddess.' 

' Beautiful idea ! ' 

i6 B. D.— 23 



354 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'It would have drawn back the mountain to the 
ancient faith; the Druses are half-prepared, and wait 
only my word.' 

'But the Nazareny bishops,' said the Queen, 
'whom you find so useful, what will they say?' 

' What did the priests and priestesses of the Syrian 
goddess say, when Syria became Christian ? They 
turned into bishops and nuns. Let them turn back 
again.' 





CHAPTER LV. 
Capture of a Harem. 

ANCRED and Fakredeen had been 
absent from Gindarics for two or 
three days, making an excursion in 
\^ the neighbouring districts, and vis- 
Jj iting several of those chieftains 
whose future aid might be of much 
importance to them. Away from the unconscious 
centre of many passions and intrigues, excited by the 
novelty of their life, sanguine of the ultimate triumph 
of his manoeuvres, and at times still influenced by his 
companion, the demeanour of the young Emir of Leb- 
anon to his friend resumed something of its wonted 
softness, confidence, and complaisance. They were 
once more in sight of the wild palace-fort of Astarte; 
spurring their horses, they dashed before their attend- 
ants over the plain, and halted at the huge portal of 
iron, while the torches were lit, and preparations 
were made for the passage of the covered way. 

When they entered the principal court, there were 
unusual appearances of some recent and considerable 
occurrence: groups of Turkish soldiers, disarmed, re- 
clining camels, baggage and steeds, and many of the 
armed tribes of the mountain. 

(355) 



2S^ BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'What is all this?' inquired Fakredeen. 

"Tis the harem of the Pasha of Aleppo,' replied 
a warrior, ' captured on the plain, and carried up into 
the mountains to our Queen of queens.' 

' The war begins/ said Fakredeen, looking round 
at Tancred with a glittering eye. 

'Women make war on women,' he replied. 

"Tis the first step,' said the Emir, dismounting; 
'1 care not how it comes. Women are at the bot- 
tom of everything. If it had not been for the Sultana 
Mother, I should have now been Prince of the Moun- 
tain.' 

When they had regained their apartments the 
lordly Keferinis soon appeared, to offer them his con- 
gratulations on their return. The minister was pecul- 
iarly refined and mysterious this morning, especially 
with respect to the great event, which he involved 
in so much of obscurity, that, after much conversa- 
tion, the travellers were as little acquainted with the 
occurrence as when they entered the courtyard of 
Gindarics. 

'The capture of a pasha's harem is not water 
spilt on sand, lordly Keferinis,' said the Emir. 'We 
shall hear more of this.' 

'What we shall hear,' replied Keferinis, 'is en- 
tirely an affair of the future; nor is it in any way to 
be disputed that there are few men who do not find 
it more difficult to foretell what is to happen than to 
remember what has taken place.' 

'We sometimes find that memory is as rare a 
quality as prediction,' said Tancred. 

'In England,' replied the lordly Keferinis; 'but it 
is never to be forgotten, and indeed, on the contrary, 
should be entirely recollected, that the English, being 



TANCRED 357 

a new people, have nothing indeed which they can 
remember.' 

Tancred bowed. 

'And how is the most gracious lady, Queen of 
queens?' inquired Fakredeen. 

'The most gracious lady, Queen of queens,' re- 
plied Keferinis, very mysteriously, ' has at this time 
many thoughts.' 

'If she require any aid,' said Fakredeen, 'there is 
not a musket in Lebanon that is not at her service.' 

Keferinis bent his head, and said, 'It is not in any 
way to be disputed that there are subjects which 
require for their management the application of a cer- 
tain degree of force, and the noble Emir of the Leb- 
anon has expressed himself in that sense with the 
most exact propriety; there are also subjects which 
are regulated by the application of a certain number 
of words, provided they were well chosen, and dis- 
tinguished by an inestimable exactitude. It does not 
by any means follow that from what has occurred 
there will be sanguinary encounters between the peo- 
ple of the gracious lady. Queen of queens, and those 
that dwell in plains and cities; nor can it be denied 
that war is a means by which many things are brought 
to a final conjuncture. At the same time courtesy 
has many charms, even for the Turks, though it is not 
to be denied, or in any way concealed, that a Turk, 
especially if he be a pasha, is, of all obscene and ut- 
ter children of the devil, the most entirely contempti- 
ble and thoroughly to be execrated.' 

' If 1 were the Queen, I would not give up the ha- 
rem,' said Fakredeen; 'and I would bring affairs to a 
crisis. The garrison at Aleppo is not strong; they 
have been obliged to march six regiments to Deir el 



358 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Kamar, and, though affairs are comparatively tranquil 
in Lebanon for the moment, let me send a pigeon to 
my cousin Francis El Kazin, and young Syria will 
get up such a stir that old Wageah Pasha will not 
spare a single man. I will have fifty bonfires on the 
mountain near Beiroot in one night, and Colonel 
Rose will send off a steamer to Sir Canning to tell 
him there is a revolt in the Lebanon, with a double 
despatch for Aberdeen, full of smoking villages and 
slaughtered women!' and the young Emir inhaled his 
nargileh with additional zest as he recollected the 
triumphs of his past mystifications. 

At sunset it was announced to the travellers that 
the Queen would receive them. Astarte appeared 
much gratified by their return, was very gracious, al- 
though in a different way, to both of them, inquired 
much as to what they had seen and what they had 
done, with whom they had conversed, and what had 
been said. At length she observed, 'Something has 
also happened at Gindarics in your absence, noble 
princes. Last night they brought part of a harem of 
the Pasha of Aleppo captive hither. This may lead 
to events.' 

' 1 have already ventured to observe to the lordly 
Keferinis,' said Fakredeen, 'that every lance in the 
Lebanon is at your command, gracious Queen.' 

'We have lances,' said Astarte; 'it is not of that I 
was thinking. Nor indeed do 1 care to prolong a 
quarrel for this capture. If the Pasha will renounce 
the tribute of the villages, 1 am for peace; if he will 
not, we will speak of those things of which there has 
been counsel between us. I do not wish this affair of 
the harem to be mixed up with what has preceded 
it. My principal captive is a most beautiful woman, and 



TANCRED 359 

one, too, that greatly interests and charms me. She 
is not a Turk, but, I apprehend, a Christian lady of 
the cities. She is plunged in grief, and weeps some- 
times with so much bitterness that I quite share her 
sorrow; but it is not so much because she is a captive, 
but because some one, who is most dear to her, has 
been slain in this fray. I have visited her, and tried 
to console her; and begged her to forget her grief and 
become my companion. But nothing soothes her, 
and tears flow for ever from eyes which are the most 
beautiful I ever beheld.' 

'This is the land of beautiful eyes,' said Tancred, 
and Astarte almost unconsciously glanced at the 
speaker, 

Cypros, who had quitted the attendant maidens 
immediately on the entrance of the two princes, after 
an interval, returned. There was some excitement on 
her countenance as she approached her mistress, and 
addressed Astarte in a hushed but hurried tone. It 
seemed that the fair captive of the Queen of the 
Ansarey had most unexpectedly expressed to Cypros 
her wish to repair to the divan of the Queen, al- 
though, the whole day, she had frequently refused to 
descend. Cypros feared that the presence of the two 
guests of her mistress might prove an obstacle to the 
fulfilment of this wish, as the freedom of social inter- 
course that prevailed among the Ansarey was un- 
known even among the ever-veiled women of the 
Maronites and Druses. But the fair captive had no 
prejudices on this head, and Cypros had accordingly 
descended to request the royal permission, or consult 
the royal will. Astarte spoke to Keferinis, who lis- 
tened with an air of great profundity, and finally 
bowed assent, and Cypros retired. 



36o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Astarte had signified to Tancred her wish that he 
should approach her, while Keferinis at some distance 
was engaged in earnest conversation with Fakredeen, 
with whom he had not had previously the oppor- 
tunity of being alone. His report of all that had 
transpired in his absence was highly favourable. The 
minister had taken the opportunity of the absence of 
the Emir and his friend to converse often and amply 
about them with the Queen. The idea of an united 
Syria was pleasing to the imagination of the young 
sovereign. The suggestion was eminently practicable. 
It required no extravagant combinations, no hazardous 
chances of fortune, nor fine expedients of political 
skill. A union between Fakredeen and Astarte at 
once connected the most important interests of the 
mountains without exciting the alarm or displeasure 
of other powers. The union was as legitimate as it 
would ultimately prove irresistible. It ensured a re- 
spectable revenue and a considerable force; and, with 
prudence and vigilance, the occasion would soon offer 
to achieve all the rest. On the next paroxysm in the 
dissolving empire of the Ottomans, the plain would 
be occupied by a warlike population descending from 
the mountains that commanded on one side the whole 
Syrian coast, and on the other all the inland cities 
from Aleppo to Damascus. 

The eye of the young Emir glittered with triumph 
as he listened to the oily sentences of the eunuch. 
'Lebanon,' he whispered, 'is the key of Syria, my 
Keferinis, never forget that; and we will lock up the 
land. Let us never sleep till this affair is achieved. 
You think she does not dream of a certain person, 
eh? I tell you, he must go, or we must get rid of 
him: I fear him not, but he is in the way; and the 



TANCRED 361 

way should be smooth as the waters of El Arish. 
Remember the temple to the Syrian goddess at Deir 
el Kamar, my Keferinis! The religion is half the 
battle. How 1 shall delight to get rid of my bishops 
and those accursed monks: drones, drivellers, bigots, 
drinking my golden wine of Canobia, and smoking 
my delicate Latakia. You know not Canobia, Keferinis; 
but you have heard of it. You have been at Bted- 
deen ? Well, Bteddeen to Canobia is an Arab moon 
to a Syrian sun. The marble alone at Canobia cost a 
million of piastres. The stables are worthy of the 
steeds of Solomon. You may kill anything you like 
in the forest, from panthers to antelopes. Listen, my 
Keferinis, let this be done, and done quickly, and 
Canobia is yours.' 

'Do you ever dream?' said Astrate to Tancred. 

'They say that life is a dream.' 

*I sometimes wish it were. Its pangs are too 
acute for a shadow.' 

'But you have no pangs.' 

'I had a dream when you were away, in which I 
was much alarmed,' said Astarte. 

'Indeed! ' 

' I thought that Gindarics was taken by the Jews. 
I suppose you have talked of them to me so much 
that my slumbering memory wandered.' 

' It is a resistless and exhaustless theme,' said Tan- 
cred; 'for the greatness and happiness of everything, 
Gindarics included, are comprised in the principles of 
which they were the first propagators.' 

' Nevertheless, I should be sorry if my dream came 
to be true,' said Astarte. 

'May your dreams be as bright and happy as your 
lot, royal lady!' said Tancred. 



362 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'My lot is not bright and happy,' said the Queen; 
'once I thought it was, but 1 think so no longer.' 

'But why ?' 

M wish you could have a dream and find out,' 
said the Queen. ' Disquietude is sometimes as per- 
plexing as pleasure. Both come and go like birds.' 

'Like the pigeon you sent to Damascus,' said Tan- 
cred. 

'Ah! why did I send it?' 

'Because you were most gracious, lady.' 

'Because I was very rash, noble prince.' 

' When the great deeds are done to which this 
visit will lead, you will not think so.' 

'I am not born for great deeds; I am a woman, 
and I am content with beautiful ones.' 

'You still dream of the Syrian goddess,' said Tan- 
cred. 

'No; not of the Syrian goddess. Tell me: they say 
the Hebrew women are very lovely, is it so?' 

'They have that reputation.' 

'But do you think so?' 

' I have known some distinguished for their beauty.' 

'Do they resemble the statue in our temple?' 

'Their style is different,' said Tancred; 'the Greek 
and the Hebrew are both among the highest types of 
the human form.' 

'But you prefer the Hebrew?' 

'I am not so discriminating a critic,' said Tancred; 
'I admire the beautiful.' 

'Well, here comes my captive,' said the Queen; 
' if you like, you shall free her, for she wonderfully 
takes me. She is a Georgian, I suppose, and bears 
the palm from all of us. I will not presume to con- 
tend with her: she would vanquish, perhaps, even 



TANCRED 



3^3 



that fair Jewess of whom, I hear, you are so enam- 
oured.' 

Tancred started, and would have replied, but Cy- 
pros adv,anced at this moment with her charge, who 
withdrew her veil as she seated herself, as commanded, 
before the Queen. She withdrew her veil, and Fak- 
redeen and Tancred beheld Eva! 




CHAPTER LVI 




Eva a Captive. 

^I ONE of a series of chambers ex- 
cavated in the mountains, yet con- 
nected with the more artificial 
portion of the palace, chambers 
and galleries which in the course of 
}ges had served for many purposes, 
sometimes of security, sometimes of punishment; treas- 
uries not unfrequently, and occasionally prisons; in 
one of these vast cells, feebly illumined from apertures 
above, lying on a rude couch with her countenance 
hidden, motionless and miserable, was the beautiful 
daughter of Besso, one who had been bred in all the 
delights of the most refined luxury, and in the enjoy- 
ment of a freedom not common in any land, and 
most rare among the Easterns. 

The events of her life had been so strange and 
rapid during the last few days that, even amid her 
woe, she revolved in her mind their startling import. 
It was little more than ten days since, under the 
guardianship of her father, she had commenced her 
journey from Damascus to Aleppo. When they had 
proceeded about half way, they were met at the city 
of Horns by a detachment of Turkish soldiers, sent by 
(364) 



TANCRED 36s 

the Pasha of Aleppo, at the request of Hillel Besso, to 
escort them, the country being much troubled in con- 
sequence of the feud with the Ansarey. Notwith- 
standing these precautions, and although, from the 
advices they received, they took a circuitous and un- 
expected course, they were attacked by the moun- 
taineers within half a day's journey of Aleppo; and 
with so much strength and spirit, that their guards, 
after some resistance, fled and dispersed, while Eva 
and her attendants, after seeing her father cut down 
in her defence, was carried a prisoner to Gindarics. 

Overwhelmed by the fate of her father, she was at 
first insensible to her own, and was indeed so dis- 
tracted that she delivered herself up to despair. She 
was beginning in some degree to collect her senses, 
and to survey her position with some comparative 
calmness, when she learnt from the visit of Cypros 
that Fakredeen and Tancred were, by a strange coin- 
cidence, under the same roof as herself. Then she 
recalled the kind sympathy and offers of consolation 
that had been evinced and proffered to her by the 
mistress of the castle, to whose expressions at the 
time she had paid but an imperfect attention. Under 
these circumstances she earnestly requested permission 
to avail herself of a privilege, which had been pre- 
viously offered and refused, to become the companion, 
rather than the captive, of the Queen of the Ansarey; 
so that she might find some opportunity of communi- 
cating with her two friends, of inquiring about her 
father, and of consulting with them as to the best 
steps to be adopted in her present exigency. 

The interview, from which so much was antici- 
pated, had turned out as strange and as distressful as 
any of the recent incidents to which it was to have 



366 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

brought balm and solace. Recognised instantly by 
Tancred and the young Emir, and greeted with a 
tender respect, almost equal to the surprise and sor- 
row which they felt at beholding her, Astarte, hitherto 
so unexpectedly gracious to her captive, appeared 
suddenly agitated, excited, haughty, even hostile. 
The Queen had immediately summoned Fakredeen to 
her side, and there passed between them some hur- 
ried and perturbed explanations; subsequently she ad- 
dressed some inquiries to Tancred, to which he replied 
without reserve. Soon afterwards, Astarte, remaining 
intent and moody, the court was suddenly broken up; 
Keferinis signifying to the young men that they should 
retire, while Astarte, without bestowing on them her 
usual farewell, rose, and, followed by her maidens, 
quitted the chamber. As for Eva, instead of return- 
ing to one of the royal apartments which had been 
previously allotted to her, she was conducted to what 
was in fact a prison. 

There she had passed the night and a portion of 
the ensuing day, visited only by Cypros, who, when 
Eva would have inquired the cause of all this myste- 
rious cruelty and startling contrast to the dispositions 
which had preceded it, only shook her head and 
pressed her finger to her lip, to signify the impossi- 
bility of her conversing with her captive. 

It was one of those situations where the most 
gifted are deserted by their intelligence; where there 
is as little to guide as to console; where the mystery 
is as vast as the misfortune; and the tortured appre- 
hension finds it impossible to grapple with irresistible 
circumstances. 

In this state, the daughter of Besso, plunged in a 
dark reverie, in which the only object visible to her 



TANCRED 367 

mind's eye was the last glance of her dying father, 
was roused from her approaching stupor by a sound, 
distinct, yet muffled, as if some one wished to at- 
tract her attention, without startling her by too sud- 
den an interruption. She looked up; again she heard 
the sound, and then, in a whispered tone, her 
name 

'Eva! ' 

'I am here.' 

'Hush!' said a figure, stealing into the caverned 
chamber, and then throwing off his Syrian cloak, re- 
vealing to her one whom she recognised. 

'Fakredeen,' she said, starting from her couch, 
'what is all this?' 

The countenance of Fakredeen was distressed and 
agitated; there was an expression of alarm, almost of 
terror, stamped upon his features. 

'You must follow me,' he said; 'there is not a 
moment to lose; you must fly!' 

'Why and whither?' said Eva. 'This capture is 
one of plunder not of malice, or was so a few hours 
back. It is not sorrow for myself that overwhelmed 
me. But yesterday, the sovereign of these mountains 
treated me with a generous sympathy, and, if it 
brought me no solace, it was only because events 
have borne, I fear, irremediable woe. And now I 
suddenly find myself among my friends; friends, who, 
of all others, I should most have wished to encounter 
at this moment, and all is changed. I am a prisoner, 
under every circumstance of harshness, even of cruelty, 
and you speak to me as if my life, my immediate 
existence, was in peril.' 

'It is.' 

' But why?' 



368 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

Fakredeen wrung his hands, and murmured, ' Let 
us go.' 

'I scarcely care to live,' said Eva; 'and 1 will not 
move until you give me some clue to all this mys- 
tery.' 

'Well, then, she is jealous of you; the Queen, As- 
tarte; she is jealous of you with the English prince, 
that man who has brought us all so many vexations.' 

Ms it he that has brought us so many vexations?' 
replied Eva. 'The Queen jealous of me, and with 
the English prince! 'Tis very strange. We scarcely 
exchanged a dozen sentences together, when all was 
disturbed and broken up. Jealous of me! Why, then, 
was she anxious that 1 should descend to her divan.? 
This is not the truth, Fakredeen.' 

'Not all; but it is the truth; it is, indeed. The 
Queen is jealous of you: she is in love with Tancred; 
a curse be on him and her both! and somebody has 
told her that Tancred is in love with you.' 

'Somebody! When did they tell her?' 

'Long ago; long ago. She knew, that is, she had 
been told, that Tancred was affianced to the daughter 
of Besso of Damascus; and so this sudden meeting 
brought about a crisis. I did what I could to prevent 
it; vowed that you were only the cousin of the Besso 
that she meant; did everything, in short, I could to 
serve and save you; but it was of no use. She was 
wild, is wild, and your life is in peril.' 

Eva mused a moment. Then, looking up, she 
said, 'Fakredeen, it is you who told the Queen this 
story. You are the somebody who has invented this 
fatal falsehood. What was your object I care not to 
inquire, knowing full well, that, if you had an object, 
you never would spare friend or foe. Leave me. I 



TANCRED 369 

have little wish to live; but I believe in the power of 
truth. I will confront the Queen and tell her all. 
She will credit what I say; if she do not, I can meet 
my fate; but I will not, now or ever, entrust it to 
you.' 

Thereupon Fakredeen burst into a flood of pas- 
sionate tears, and, throwing himself on the ground, 
kissed Eva's feet, and clung to her garments which 
he embraced, sobbing, and moaning, and bestowing 
on her endless phrases of affection, mixed with im- 
precations on his own head and conduct. 

'O Eva! my beloved Eva, sister of my soul, it is 
of no use telling you any lies! Yes, 1 am that villain 
and that idiot who has brought about all this misery, 
misery enough to turn me mad, and which, by a 
just retribution, has destroyed all the brilliant fortunes 
which were at last opening on me. This Frank 
stranger was the only bar to my union with the sov- 
ereign of these mountains, whose beauty you have 
witnessed, whose power, combined with my own, 
would found a kingdom. 1 wished to marry her. 
You cannot be angry with me, Eva, for that. You 
know very well that, if you had married me your- 
self, we should neither of us have been in the horri- 
ble situation in which we now find ourselves. Ah! 
that would have been a happy union! But let that 
pass. I have always been the most unfortunate of 
men; I have never had justice done me. Well, she 
loved this prince of Franguestan. I saw it; nothing 
escapes me. I let her know that he was devoted to 
another. Why 1 mentioned your name I cannot well 
say; perhaps because it was the first that occurred to 
me; perhaps because I have a lurking suspicion that 
he really does love you. The information worked. 

16 B. D.— 24 



370 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

My own suit prospered. I bribed her minister. He 
is devoted to me. All was smiling. How could I 
possibly have anticipated that you would ever arrive 
here! When I saw you, I felt that all was lost. I 
endeavoured to rally affairs, but it was useless. Tan- 
cred has no finesse; his replies neutralised, nay, de- 
stroyed, all my counter representations. The Queen 
is a whirlwind. She is young; she has never been 
crossed in her life. You cannot argue with her when 
her heart is touched. In short, all is ruined;' and 
Fakredeen hid his weeping face in the robes of Eva. 

'What misery you prepare for yourself, and for 
all who know you!' exclaimed Eva. 'But that has 
happened which makes me insensible to further 
grief.' 

'Yes; but listen to what I say, and all will go 
right. I do not care in the least for my own disap- 
pointment. That now is nothing. It is you, it is of 
you only that I think, whom I wish to save. Do 
not chide me: pardon me, pardon me, as you have 
done a thousand times; pardon and pity me. I am 
so young and really so inexperienced; after all, I am 
only a child; besides, I have not a friend in the 
world except you. I am a villain, a fool; all villains 
are. I know it. But I cannot help it. I did not 
make myself. The question now is. How are we to 
get out of this scrape? How are we to save your 
life?' 

' Do you really mean, Fakredeen, that my life is 
in peril?' 

'Yes, I do,' said the Emir, crying like a child. 

' You do not know the power of truth, Fakre- 
deen. You have no confidence in it. Let me see 
the Queen.' 



TANCRED 371 

'Impossible!' he said, starting up, and looking 
very much alarmed. 

'Why?' 

' Because, in the first place, she is mad. Kefe- 
rinis, that is, her minister, one of my creatures, and 
the only person who can manage her, told me this 
moment that it was a perfect Kamsin, and that, if he 
approached her again, it would be at his own risk; 
and, in the second place, bad as things are, they 
would necessarily be much worse if she saw you, 
because (and it is of no use concealing it any longer) 
she thinks you already dead.' 

'Dead! Already dead! ' 

'Yes.' 

'And where is your friend and companion?' said 
Eva. 'Does he know of these horrors?' 

'No one knows of them except myself The 
Queen sent for me last night to speak to me of the 
subject generally. It was utterly vain to attempt to 
disabuse her; it would only have compromised all of 
us. She would only have supposed the truth to be 
an invention for the moment. I found your fate 
sealed. In my desperation, the only thing that oc- 
curred to me was to sympathise with her indignation 
and approve of all her projects. She apprised me 
that you should not hve four-and-twenty hours. I 
rather stimulated her vengeance, told her in secresy 
that your house had nearly effected my ruin, and that 
there was no sacrifice I would not make, and no 
danger that I would not encounter, to wreak on your 
race my long-cherished revenge. I assured her that I 
had been watching my opportunity for years. Well, 
you see how it is, Eva; she consigned to me the 
commission which she would have whispered to one 



372 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

of her slaves. I am here with her cognisance; in- 
deed, by this time she thinks 'tis all over. You com- 
prehend?' 

'You are to be my executioner?' 

'Yes; I have undertaken that office in order to 
save your life.' 

' I care not to save my life. What is life to me, 
since he perhaps is gone who gave me that life, and 
for whom alone 1 lived!' 

'O Eva! Eva! don't distract me; don't drive me 
absolutely mad! When a man is doing what I am 
for your sake, giving up a kingdom, and more than 
a kingdom, to treat him thus! But you never did me 
justice.' And Fakredeen poured forth renewed tears. 
'Keferinis is in my pay; I have got the signet of the 
covered way. Here are two Mamlouk dresses; one 
you must put on. Without the gates are two good 
steeds, and in eight-and-forty hours we shall be safe, 
and smiling again.' 

'I shall never smile again,' said Eva. 'No, Fakre- 
deen,' she added, after a moment's pause, 'I will not 
fly, and you cannot fly. Can you leave alone in this 
wild place that friend, too faithful, 1 believe, whom 
you have been the means of leading hither?' 

'Never mind him,' said the Emir. 'I wish we 
had never seen him. He is quite safe. She may 
keep him a prisoner perhaps. What then ? He 
makes so discreet a use of his liberty that a little 
durance will not be very injurious. His life will be 
safe enough. Cutting off his head is not the way 
to gain his heart. But time presses. Come, my 
sister, my beloved Eva! In a few hours it may not 
be in my power to effect all this. Come, think of 
your father, of his anxiety, his grief. One glimpse 



TANCRED 373 

of you will do him more service than the most 
cunning leech.' 

Eva burst into passionate tears. ' He w^iil never 
see us again. 1 saw him fall; never shall 1 forget 
that moment!' and she hid her face in her hands. 

'But he lives,' said Fakredeen. 'I have been 
speaking to some of the Turkish prisoners. They 
also saw him fall; but he was borne off the field, 
and, though insensible, it was believed that the 
wound was not fatal. Trust me, he is at Aleppo.' 

'They saw him borne off the field.?' 

'Safe, and, if not well, far from desperate.' 

'O God of my fathers!' said Eva, falling on her 
knees; 'thine is indeed a mercy-seat!' 

'Yes, yes; there is nothing hke the God of your 
fathers, Eva. If you knew the things that are going 
on in this place, even in these vaults and caverns, 
you would not tarry here an instant. They worship 
nothing but graven images, and the Queen has fallen 
in love with Tancred, because he resembles a marble 
statue older than the times of the pre-Adamite Sul- 
tans. Come, come! ' 

'But how could they know that he was far from 
desperate ? ' 

'1 will show you the man who spoke to him,' 
said Fahredeen; 'he is only with our horses. You 
can ask him any questions you like. Come, put on 
your Mamlouk dress, every minute is golden.' 

'There seems to me something base in leaving 
him here alone,' said Eva. 'He has eaten our salt, 
he is the child of our tents, his blood will be upon 
our heads.' 

'Well, then, fly for his sake,' said Fakredeen; 
'here you cannot aid him; but when you are once in 



374 



BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



safety, a thousand things may be done for his assist- 
ance. I could return, for example.' 

'Now, Fakredeen,' said Eva, stopping him, and 
speaking in a solemn tone, 'if I accompany you, as 
you now require, will you pledge me your word, 
that the moment we pass the frontier you will return 
to him.' 

' I swear it, by our true religion, and by my hopes 
of an earthly crown.' 




CHAPTER LVII 




Message of the Pasha. 

* HE sudden apparition of Eva at Gin- 
darics, and the scene of painful mys- 



tery by which it was followed, had 
plunged Tancred into the great- 
est anxiety and affliction. It was 

in vain that, the moment they had 
quitted the presence of Astarte, he appealed to Fak- 
redeen for some explanation of what had occurred, and 
for some counsel as to the course they should imme- 
diately pursue to assist one in whose fate they were 
both so deeply interested. The Emir, for the first 
time since their acquaintance, seemed entirely to have 
lost himself. He looked perplexed, almost stunned; 
his language was incoherent, his gestures those of 
despair. Tancred, while he at once ascribed all this 
confused demeanour to the shock which he had him- 
self shared at finding the daughter of Besso a captive, 
and a captive under circumstances of doubt and diffi- 
culty, could not reconcile such distraction, such an 
absence of all resources and presence of mind, with 
the exuberant means and the prompt expedients which 
in general were the characteristics of his companion, 
under circumstances the most difficult and unforeseen. 

(37S) 



376 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

When they had reached their apartments, Fakre- 
deen threw hunself upon the divan and moaned, and, 
suddenly starting from the couch, paced the chamber 
with agitated step, wringing his hands. All that Tan- 
cred could extract from him was an exclamation of 
despair, an imprecation on his own head, and an ex- 
pression of fear and horror at Eva having fallen into 
the hands of pagans and idolaters. 

It was in vain also that Tancred endeavoured to 
communicate with Keferinis. The minister was in- 
visible, not to be found, and the night closed in, 
when Tancred, after fruitless counsels with Baroni, 
and many united but vain efforts to open some com- 
munication with Eva, delivered himself not to repose, 
but to a distracted reverie over the present harassing 
and critical affairs. 

When the dawn broke, he rose and sought Fakre- 
deen, but, to his surprise, he found that his com- 
panion had already quitted his apartment. An unusual 
stillness seemed to pervade Gindarics this day; not a 
person was visible. Usually at sunrise all were astir, 
and shortly afterwards Keferinis generally paid a visit 
to the guests of his sovereign; but this day Keferinis 
omitted the ceremony, and Tancred, never more anx- 
ious for companions and counsellors, found himself 
entirely alone; for Baroni was about making observa- 
tions, and endeavouring to find some clue to the po- 
sition of Eva. 

Tancred had resolved, the moment that it was 
practicable, to solicit an audience of Astarte on the 
subject of Eva, and to enter into all the representa- 
tions respecting her which, in his opinion, were alone 
necessary to secure for her immediately the most con- 
siderate treatment, and ultimately a courteous release. 



TANCRED 377 

The very circumstance that she was united to the 
Emir of Canobia by ties so dear and intimate, and 
was also an individual to whom he himself was in- 
debted for such generous aid and such invaluable 
services, would, he of course assumed, independently 
of her own interesting personal qualities, enlist the 
kind feelings of Astarte in her favour. The difficulty 
was to obtain this audience of Astarte, for neither 
Fakredeen nor Keferinis was to be found, and no 
other means of achieving the result were obvious. 

About two hours before noon, Baroni brought 
word that he had contrived to see Cypros, from whom 
he gathered that Astarte had repaired to the great 
temple of the gods. Instantly, Tancred resolved to 
enter the palace, and if possible to find his way to 
the mysterious sanctuary. That was a course by no 
means easy; but the enterprising are often fortunate, 
and his project proved not to be impossible. He 
passed through the chambers of the palace, which 
were entirely deserted, and with which he was fa- 
miliar, and he reached without difficulty the portal of 
bronze, which led to the covered way that conducted 
to the temple, but it was closed. Baffled and almost 
in despair, a distant chorus reached his ear, then the 
tramp of feet, and then slowly the portal opened. He 
imagined that the Queen was returning; but, on the 
contrary, pages and women and priests swept by 
without observing him, for he was hidden by one of 
the opened valves, but Astarte was not there; and, 
though the venture was rash, Tancred did not hesi- 
tate, as the last individual in the procession moved 
on, to pass the gate. The portal shut instantly with 
a clang, and Tancred found himself alone and in com- 
parative darkness. His previous experience, however, 



378 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

sustained him. His eye, fresh from the sunlight, at 
first wandered in obscurity, but by degrees, habituated 
to the atmosphere, though dim, the way was suf- 
ficiently indicated, and he advanced, till, the light be- 
came each step more powerful, and soon he emerged 
upon the platform, which faced the mountain temple 
at the end of the ravine: a still and wondrous scene, 
more striking now, if possible, when viewed alone, 
with his heart the prey of many emotions. How full 
of adventure is life! It is monotonous only to the 
monotonous. There may be no longer fiery dragons, 
magic rings, or fairy wands, to interfere in its course 
and to influence our career; but the relations of men 
are far more complicated and numerous than of yore; 
and in the play of the passions, and in the devices of 
creative spirits, that have thus a proportionately greater 
sphere for their action, there are spells of social sorcery 
more potent than all the necromancy of Merlin or 
Friar Bacon. 

Tancred entered the temple, the last refuge of the 
Olympian mind. It was race that produced these in- 
imitable forms, the idealised reflex of their own pe- 
culiar organisation. Their principles of art, practised 
by a different race, do not produce the same results. 
Yet we shut our eyes to the great truth into which 
all truths merge, and we call upon the Pict, or the 
Sarmatian, to produce the forms of Phidias and Prax- 
iteles. 

Not devoid of that awe which is caused by the 
presence of the solenm and the beautiful, Tancred 
slowly traced his steps through the cavern sanctuary. 
No human being was visible. Upon his right was 
the fane to which Astarte led him on his visit of ini- 
tiation. He was about to enter it, when, kneeling 



TANCRED 379 

before the form of the Apollo of Antioch, he beheld 
the fair Queen of the Ansarey, motionless and speech- 
less, her arms crossed upon her breast, and her eyes 
fixed upon her divinity, in a dream of ecstatic devo- 
tion. 

The splendour of the ascending sun fell full upon the 
statue, suffusing the ethereal form with radiancy, and 
spreading around it for some space a broad and golden 
halo. As Tancred, recognising the Queen, with- 
drew a few paces, his shadow, clearly defined, rested 
on the glowing wall of the rock temple. Astarte 
uttered an exclamation, rose quickly from her kneel- 
ing position, and, looking round, her eyes met those 
of Lord Montacute. Instantly she withdrew her gaze, 
blushing deeply. 

' I was about to retire,' murmured Tancred. 

'And why should you retire.?' said Astarte, in a 
soft voice, looking up. 

'There are moments when solitude is sacred.' 

'I am too much alone: often, and of late especially, 
I feel a painful isolation.' 

She moved forward, and they re-entered together 
the chief temple, and then emerged into the sunlight. 
They stood beneath the broad Ionic portico, behold- 
ing the strange scene around. Then it was that Tan- 
cred, observing that Astarte cared not to advance, and 
deeming the occasion very favourable to his wishes, 
proceeded to explain to her the cause of his ventur- 
ing to intrude on her this morning. He spoke with 
that earnestness, and, if the phrase may be used, that 
passionate repose, which distinguished him. He en- 
larged on the character of Besso, his great virtues, his 
amiable qualities, his benevolence and unbounded 
generosity; he sought in every way to engage the 



38o BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

kind feelings of Astarte in favour of his family, and 
to interest her in the character of Eva, on which he 
dilated with all the eloquence of his heart. Truly, he 
almost did justice to her admirable qualities, her vivid 
mind, and lofty spirit, and heroic courage; the occa- 
sion was too delicate to treat of the personal charms 
of another woman, but he did not conceal his own 
deep sense of obligation to Eva for her romantic ex- 
pedition to the desert in his behalf. 

'You can understand then,' concluded Tancred, 
' what must have been my astonishment and grief 
when I found her yesterday a captive. It was some 
consolation to me to remember in whose power she 
had fallen, and I hasten to throw myself at your feet 
to supplicate for her safety and her freedom.' 

'Yes, I can understand all this,' said Astarte, in a 
low tone. 

Tancred looked at her. Her voice had struck him 
with pain; her countenance still more distressed him. 
Nothing could afford a more complete contrast to the 
soft and glowing visage that a few moments before 
he had beheld in the fane of Apollo. She was quite 
pale, almost livid; her features, of exquisite shape, 
had become hard and even distorted; all the bad pas- 
sions of our nature seemed suddenly to have con- 
centred in that face which usually combined perfect 
beauty of form with an expression the most gentle, 
and in truth most lovely. 

'Yes, I can understand all this,' said Astarte, 'but 
1 shall not exercise any power which I may possess 
to assist you in violating the laws of your country, 
and outraging the wishes of your sovereign.' 

'Violating the laws of my country!' exclaimed 
Tancred, with a perplexed look. 



TANCRED 381 

' Yes, I know all. Your schemes truly are very 
heroic and very flattering to our self-love. We are to 
lend our lances to place on the throne of Syria one 
who would not be permitted to reside in your own 
country, much less to rule in \t?' 

' Of whom, of what, do you speak ? ' 

'I speak of the Jewess whom you would marry,' 
said Astarte, in a hushed yet distinct voice, and with 
a fell glance, 'against all laws, divine and human.' 

'Of your prisoner.^' 

'Well you may call her my prisoner; she is 
secure.' 

' Is it possible you can believe that I even am a 
suitor of the daughter of Besso ? ' said Tancred, 
earnestly. ' I wear the Cross, which is graven on my 
heart, and have a heavenly mission to fulfil, from 
which no earthly thought shall ever distract me. But 
even were I more than sensible to her charms and 
virtues, she is affianced, or the same as affianced; nor 
have 1 the least reason to suppose that he who will 
possess her hand does not command her heart.' 

' Affianced ? ' 

'Not only affianced, but, until this sad adventure, 
on the very point of being wedded. She was on her 
way from Damascus to Aleppo, to be united to her 
cousin, when she was brought hither, where she will, 
I trust, not long remain your prisoner.' 

The countenance of Astarte changed; but, though 
it lost its painful and vindictive expression, it did not 
assume one of less distress. After a moment's pause, 
she murmured, 'Can this be true.?' 

'Who could have told you otherwise.?' 

'An enemy of hers, of her family,' continued As- 
tarte, in a low voice, and speaking as if absorbed in 



382 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

thought; 'one who admitted to me his long-hoarded 
vengeance against her house.' 

Then turning abruptly, she looked Tancred full in 
the face, with a glance of almost fierce scrutiny. His 
clear brow and unfaltering eye, with an expression of 
sympathy and even kindness on his countenance, met 
her searching look. 

'No,' she said; 'it is impossible that you can be 
false.' 

'Why should I be false? or what is it that mixes 
up my name and life with these thoughts and cir- 
cumstances ?' 

'Why should you be false? Ah! there it is,' said 
Astarte, in a sweet and mournful voice. 'What are 
any of us to you!' And she wept. 

'It grieves me to see you in sorrow,' said Tan- 
cred, approaching her, and speaking in a tone of 
kindness. 

'I am more than sorrowful: this unhappy lady 

' and the voice of Astarte was overpowered by 

her emotion. 

' You will send her back in safety and with honour 
to her family,' said Tancred, soothingly. 'I would 
fain believe her father has not fallen. My intend- 
ant assures me that there are Turkish soldiers here 
who saw him borne from the field. A little time, 
and their griefs will vanish. You will have the sat- 
isfaction of having acted with generosity, with that 
good heart which characterises you; and as for the 
daughter of Besso, all will be forgotten as she gives 
one hand to her father and the other to her hus- 
band.' 

'It is too late,' said Astarte in an almost sepulchral 
voice. 



TANCRED 383 

'What is that?' 

'It is too late! The daughter of Besso is no 
more.' 

'Jesu preserve us!' exclaimed Tancred, starting, 
'Speak it again: what is it that you say?' 

Astarte shook her head. 

'Woman!' said Tancred, and he seized her hand, 
but his thoughts were too wild for utterance, and he 
remained pallid and panting. 

'The daughter of Besso is no more; and I do not 
lament it, for you loved her.' 

'Oh, grief ineffable!' said Tancred, with a groan, 
looking up to heaven, and covering his face with his 
hands: *I loved her, as 1 loved the stars and sun- 
shine.' Then, after a pause, he turned to Astarte, 
and said, in a rapid voice, 'This dreadful deed; when, 
how, did it happen?' 

' Is it so dreadful ? ' 

'Almost as dreadful as such words from woman's 
lips. A curse be on the hour that I entered these 
walls ! ' 

'No, no, no!' said Astarte, and she seized his 
arm distractedly. 'No, no! No curse!' 

'It is not true!' said Tancred. 'It cannot be true! 
She is not dead.' 

' Would she were not, if her death is to bring me 
curses.' 

' Tell me when was this ? ' 

'An hour ago, at least.' 

'I do not believe it. There is not an arm that 
would have dared to touch her. Let us hasten to 
her. It is not too late.' 

'Alas! it is too late,' said Astarte. 'It was an 
enemy's arm that undertook the deed.' 



384 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'An enemy! What enemy among your people 
could the daughter of Besso have found?' 

'A deadly one, who seized the occasion offered to 
a long cherished vengeance; one who for years has 
been alike the foe and the victim of her race and 
house. There is no hope!' 

'I am indeed amazed. Who could this be?' 

'Your friend; at least, your supposed friend, the 
Emir of the Lebanon.' 

' Fakredeen ?' 

'You have said it.' 

'The assassin and the foe of Eva!' exclaimed Tan- 
cred, with a countenance relieved yet infinitely per- 
plexed. 'There must be some great misconception in 
all this. Let us hasten to the castle.' 

'He solicited the office,' said Astarte; 'he wreaked 
his vengeance, while he vindicated my outraged feel- 
ings.' 

' By murdering his dearest friend, the only being 
to whom he is really devoted, his more than friend, 
his foster-sister, nursed by the same heart; the ally 
and inspiration of his life, to whom he himself was a 
suitor, and might have been a successful one, had it 
not been for the custom of her religion and her race, 
which shrink from any connection with strangers and 
with Nazarenes.' 

'His foster-sister!' exclaimed Astarte. 

At this moment Cypros appeared in the distance, 
hastening to Astarte with an agitated air. Her looks 
were disturbed; she was almost breathless when she 
reached them; she wrung her hands before she spoke. 

'Royal lady!' at length she said, 'I hastened, as 
you instructed me, at the appointed hour, to the Emir 
Fakredeen, but 1 learnt that he had quitted the castle. 



TANCRED 385 

Then I repaired to the prisoner; but, woe is me! she 
is not to be found.' 

'Not to be found!' 

'The raiment that she wore is lying on the floor 
of her prison. Methinics she has fled.' 

'She has fled with him who was false to us all,' 
said Astarte, 'for it was the Emir of the Lebanon 
who long ago told me that you were affianced to the 
daughter of Besso, and who warned me against join- 
ing in any enterprise which was only to place upon 
the throne of Syria one whom the laws of your own 
country would never recognise as your wife.' 

'Intriguer!' said Tancred. 'Vile and inveterate in- 
triguer!' 

'It is well,' said Astarte. 'My spirit is more 
serene.' 

'Would that Eva were with any one else!' said 
Tancred, thoughtfully, and speaking, as it were, to 
himself. 

'Your thoughts are with the daughter of Besso,' 
said Astarte. ' You wish to follow her, to guard her, 
to restore her to her family.' 

Tancred looked round and caught the glance of 
the Queen of the Ansarey, mortified, yet full of affec- 
tion. 

'It seems to me,' he said, 'that it is time for me 
to terminate a visit that has already occasioned you, 
royal lady, too much vexation.' 

Astarte burst into tears. 

'Let me go,' she said, 'you want a throne; this 
is a rude one, yet accept it. You require warriors, 
the Ansarey are invincible. My castle is not like 
those palaces of Antioch of which we have often 
talked, and which were worthy of you, but Gindarics 

16 B. D.— 25 



386 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

is impregnable, and will serve you for your head- 
quarters until you conquer that world which you are 
born to command.' 

' 1 have been the unconscious agent in petty mach- 
inations,' said Tancred. 'I must return to the des- 
ert to recover the purity of my mind. It is Arabia 
alone that can regenerate the world.' 

At this moment Cypros, who was standing apart, 
waved her scarf, and exclaimed, ' Royal lady, I per- 
ceive in the distance the ever-faithful messenger;' 
whereupon Astarte looked up, and, as yet invisible to 
the inexperienced glance of Tancred, recognised what 
was an infinitely small dusky speck, each moment 
becoming more apparent, until at length a bird was 
observed by all of them winging its way towards the 
Queen. 

Ms it the ever-faithful Karaguus,' said Astarte; 'or 
is it Ruby-lips that ever brings good news?' 

'It is Karaguus,' said Cypros, as the bird drew 
nearer and nearer; 'but it is not Karaguus of Damas- 
cus. By the ring on its neck, it is Karaguus of 
Aleppo.' 

The pigeon now was only a few yards above the 
head of the Queen. Fatigued, but with an eye full 
of resolution, it fluttered for a moment, and then fell 
upon her bosom. Cypros advanced and lifted its 
weary wing, and untied the cartel which it bore, 
brief words, but full of meaning, and a terrible in- 
terest. 

' The Pasha, at the head of Jive thousand regular 
troops, leaves Haleb to-morrow to invade our land. ' 

'Go,' said Astarte to Tancred; 'to remain here is 
now dangerous. Thanks to the faithful messenger, 



TANCRED 



387 



you have time to escape with ease from that land 
which you scorned to rule, and which loved you too 
well.' 

'I cannot leave it in the hour of peril,' said Tan- 
cred. ' This invasion of the Ottomans may lead to 
results of which none dream. I will meet them at 
the head of your warriors!' 





CHAPTER LVIII. 
Three Letters of Cabala. 

THERE any news?' asked Adam 

Besso of Issachar, the son of Selim, 

the most cunning leech at Aleppo, 

and who by day and by night 

watched the couch which bore 

the suffering form of the pride and 

mainstay of the Syrian Hebrews. 

'There is news, but it has not yet arrived,' re- 
plied Issachar, the son of Selim, a man advanced in 
life, but hale, with a white beard, a bright eye, and 
a benignant visage. 

* There are pearls in the sea, but what are they 
worth?' murmured Besso. 

' I have taken a Cabala,' said Issachar, the son of 
Selim, 'and three times that I opened the sacred 
book, there were three words, and the initial letter of 
each word is the name of a person who will enter 
this room this day, and every person will bring 
news.' 

'But what news?' sighed Besso. 'The news of 
Tophet and of ten thousand demons?' 

'I have taken a Cabala,' said Issachar, the son of 
Selim, 'and the news will be good.' 
(388) 



TANCRED 389 

'To whom and from whom? Good to the Pasha, 
but not to me! good to the people of Haleb, but not, 
perhaps, to the family of Besso.' 

'God will guard over his own. In the meanwhile, 
I must replace this bandage, noble Besso. Let me 
rest your arm upon this cushion and you will endure 
less pain.' 

'Alas! worthy Issachar, I have wounds deeper than 
any you can probe.' 

The resignation peculiar to the Orientals had sus- 
tained Besso under his overwhelming calamity. He 
neither wailed nor moaned. Absorbed in a brooding 
silence, he awaited the result of the measures which 
had been taken for the release of Eva, sustained by 
the chance of success, and caring not to survive if 
encountering failure. The Pasha of Aleppo, long irri- 
tated by the Ansarey, and meditating for some time 
an invasion of their country, had been fired by the 
all-influential representations of the family of Besso 
instantly to undertake a step which, although it had 
been for some time contemplated, might yet, accord- 
ing to Turkish custom, have been indefinitely post- 
poned. Three regiments of the line, disciplined in the 
manner of Europe, some artillery, and a strong de- 
tachment of cavalry, had been ordered at once to in- 
vade the contiguous territory of the Ansarey. Hillel 
Besso had accompanied the troops, leaving his uncle 
under his paternal roof, disabled by his late conflict, 
but suffering from wounds which in themselves were 
serious rather than perilous. 

Four days had elapsed since the troops had quitted 
Aleppo. It was the part of Hillel, before they had 
recourse to hostile movements, to obtain, if possible, 
the restoration of the prisoners by fair means; nor 



390 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

were any resources wanting to effect this purpose. A 
courier had arrived at Aleppo from Hillel, apprising 
Adam Besso that the Queen of the Ansarey had not 
only refused to give up the prisoners, but even de- 
clared that Eva had been already released; but Hillel 
concluded that this was merely trifling. This parleying 
had taken place on the border; the troops were about 
to force the passes on the following day. 

About an hour before sunset, on the very same 
day that Issachar, the son of Selim, had taken more 
than one Cabala, some horsemen, in disorder, were 
observed from the walls by the inhabitants of Aleppo, 
galloping over the plain. They were soon recognised 
as the cavalry of the Pasha, the irregular heralds, it 
was presumed, of a triumph achieved. Hillel Besso, 
covered with sweat and dust, was among those who 
thus early arrived. He hastened at a rapid pace 
through the suburb of the city, scattering random 
phrases to those who inquired after intelligence as 
he passed, until he reached the courtyard of his own 
house. 

"Tis well,' he observed, as he closed the gate. 
'A battle is a fine thing, but, for my part, I am not 
sorry to find myself at home.' 

'What is that?' inquired Adam Besso, as a noise 
reached his ear. 

"Tis the letter of the first Cabala,' replied Issachar, 
the son of Selim. 

'Uncle, it is I,' said Hillel, advancing. 

'Speak,' said Adam Besso, in an agitated voice; 
'my sight is dark.' 

'Alas, I am alone!' said Hillel. 

'Bury me in Jehoshaphat,' murmured Besso, as he 
sank back. 



TANCRED 391 

'But, my uncle, there is hope.' 

'Speak, then, of hope,' replied Besso, with sudden 
vehemence, and starting from his pillow. 

'Truly I have seen a child of the mountains, who 
persists in the tale that our Eva has escaped.' 

'An enemy's device! Are the mountains ours? 
Where are the troops?' 

'Were the mountains ours, I should not be here, 
my uncle. Look from the ramparts, and you will 
soon see the plain covered with the troops, at least 
with all of them who have escaped the matchlocks 
and the lances of the Ansarey.' 

'Are they such sons of fire?' 

'When the Queen of the Ansarey refused to de- 
liver up the prisoners, and declared that Eva was not 
in her power, the Pasha resolved to penetrate the 
passes, in two detachments, on the following morn- 
ing. The enemy was drawn up in array to meet us, 
but fled after a feeble struggle. Our artillery seemed 
to carry all before it. But,' continued Hillel, shrug- 
ging his shoulders, 'war is not by any means a com- 
mercial transaction. It seemed that, when we were 
on the point of victory, we were in fact entirely de- 
feated. The enemy had truly made a feigned defence, 
and had only allured us into the passes, where they 
fired on us from the heights, and rolled down upon 
our confused masses huge fragments of rock. Our 
strength, our numbers, and our cannon, only embar- 
rassed us; there arose a confusion; the troops turned 
and retreated. And, when everything was in the 
greatest perplexity, and we were regaining the plain, 
our rear was pursued by crowds of cavalry, Kurds, 
and other Giaours, who destroyed our men with 
their long lances, uttering horrible shouts. For my 



392 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

own part, I thought all was over, but a good horse 
is not a bad thing, and I am here, my uncle, having 
ridden for twenty hours, nearly, without a pause.' 

'And when did you see this child of the moun- 
tains who spoke of the lost one?' asked Besso, in a 
low and broken voice. 

'On the eve of the engagement,' said Hillel. 'He 
had been sent to me with a letter, but, alas! had been 
plundered on his way by our troops, and the letter 
had been destroyed or lost. Nevertheless, he induced 
them to permit him to reach my tent, and brought 
these words, that the ever adorable had truly quitted 
the mountains, and that the lost letter had been writ- 
ten to that effect by the chieftain of the Ansarey.' 

'Is there yet hope! What sound is that?' 

"Tis the letter of the second Cabala,' said Issachar, 
the son of Selim. 

And at this moment entered the chamber a faithful 
slave, who made signs to the physician, upon which 
Issachar rose, and was soon engaged in earnest con- 
versation with him who had entered, Hillel tending 
the side of Besso. After a few minutes, Issachar ap- 
proached the couch of his patient, and said, ' Here is 
one, my lord and friend, who brings good tidings of 
your daughter.' 

'God of my fathers!' exclaimed Besso, passion- 
ately, and springing up. 

'Still, we must be calm,' said Issachar; 'still, we 
must be calm.' 

' Let me see him,' said Besso. 

'It is one you know, and know well,' said Issa- 
char. 'It is the Emir Fakredeen.' 

'The son of my heart,' said Besso, 'who brings 
me news that is honey in my mouth/ 



TANCRED 393 

'I am here, my father of fathers,' said Fakredeen, 
gliding to the side of the couch. 

Besso grasped his hand, and looked at him 
earnestly in the face. ' Speak of Eva,' he at length 
said, in a voice of choking agitation. 

'She is well, she is safe. Yes, I have saved her,' 
said Fakredeen, burying his face in the pillow, ex- 
hausted by emotion. 'Yes, I have not lived in vain.' 

'Your flag shall wave on a thousand castles,' said 
Besso. ' My child is saved, and she is saved by the 
brother of her heart. Entirely has the God of our 
fathers guarded over us. Henceforth, my Fakredeen, 
you have only to wish: we are the same.' And 
Besso sank down almost insensible; then he made a 
vain effort to rise again, murmuring 'Eva!' 

'She will soon be here,' said Fakredeen; 'she 
only rests awhile after many hardships.' 

' Will the noble Emir refresh himself after his long 
journey?' said Hillel. 

'My heart is too elate for the body to need relief,' 
said the Emir. 

'That may be very true,' said Hillel. 'At the 
same time, for my part, I have always thought that 
the body should be maintained as well as the spirit.' 

'Withdraw from the side of the couch,' said Issa- 
char, the son of Selim, to his companions. ' My lord 
and friend has swooned.' 

Gradually the tide of life returned to Besso, grad- 
ually the heart beat, the hand grew warm. At length 
he slowly opened his eyes, and said, ' I have been 
dreaming of my child, even now I see her.' 

Yes, so vivid had been the vision that even now, 
restored entirely to himself, perfectly conscious of the 
locality and the circumstances that surrounded him, 



394 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

knowing full well that he was in his brother's house 
at Aleppo, suffering and disabled, keenly recalling his 
recent interview with Fakredeen, notwithstanding all 
these tests of inward and outward perception, still before 
his entranced and agitated vision hovered the lovely 
visage of his daughter, a little paler than usual, and an 
uncommon anxiety blended with its soft expression, but 
the same rich eyes and fme contour of countenance 
that her father had so often gazed on with pride, and 
recalled in her absence with brooding fondness. 
'Even now I see her,' said Besso. 

He could say no more, for the sweetest form in 
the world had locked him in her arms. 

"Tis the letter of the third Cabala,' said Issachar, 
the son of Selim. 




CHAPTER LIX 




Tancred Returns to Jerusalem. 

ANCRED had profited by his sur- 
prise by the children of Rechab in 
the passes of the Stony Arabia, and 
had employed the same tactics 
against the Turkish force. By a 
simulated defence on the borders, 
and by the careful dissemination of false intelligence, 
he had allowed the Pasha and his troops to penetrate 
the mountains, and principally by a pass which the 
Turks were assured by their spies that the Ansarey 
had altogether neglected. The success of these ma- 
noeuvres had been as complete as the discomfiture and 
rout of the Turks. Tancred, at the head of the cav- 
alry, had pursued them into the plain, though he had 
halted, for an instant, before he quitted the moun- 
tains, to send a courier to Astarte from himself with 
the assurance of victory, and the horsetails of the 
Pasha for a trophy. 

It so happened, however, that, while Tancred, 
with very few attendants, was scouring the plain, and 
driving before him a panic-struck multitude, who, if 
they could only have paused and rallied, might in a 
moment have overwhelmed him, a strong body of 
Turkish cavalry, who had entered the mountains by 

(395) 



396 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

a different pass from that in which the principal en- 
gagement had taken place, but who, learning the 
surprise and defeat of the main body, had thought it 
wise to retreat in order and watch events, debouched 
at this moment from the high country into the plain 
and in the rear of Tancred. Had they been immedi- 
ately recognised by the fugitives, it would have been 
impossible for Tancred to escape; but the only im- 
pression of the routed Turks was, that a reinforce- 
ment had joined their foe, and their disorder was 
even increased by the appearance in the distance of 
their own friends. This misapprehension must, how- 
ever, in time, have been at least partially removed; 
but Baroni, whose quick glance had instantly de- 
tected the perilous incident, warned Tancred imme- 
diately. 

'We are surrounded, my lord; there is only one 
course to pursue. To regain the mountains is im- 
possible; if we advance, we enter only a hostile 
country, and must be soon overpowered. We must 
make for the Eastern desert.' 

Tancred halted and surveyed the scene: he had 
with him not twenty men. The Turkish cavalry, 
several hundreds strong, had discovered their quarry, 
and were evidently resolved to cut off their retreat. 

'Very well,' said Tancred, 'we are well mounted, 
we must try the mettle of our steeds. Farewell, Gin- 
darics! Farewell, gods of Olympus! To the desert, 
which I ought never to have quitted!' and, so speak- 
ing, he and his band dashed towards the East. 

Their start was so considerable that they baffled 
their pursuers, who, however, did not easily relin- 
quish their intended prey. Some shots in the dis- 
tance, towards nightfall, announced that the enemy 



TANCRED 397 

had given up the chase. After three hours of the 
moon, Tancred and his companions rested at a well 
not far from a village, where they obtained some 
supplies. An hour before dawn, they again pursued 
their way over a rich flat country, uninclosed, yet 
partially cultivated, with, every now and then, a vil- 
lage nestling in a jungle of Indian fig. 

It was the commencement of December, and the 
country was very parched; but the short though vio- 
lent season of rain was at hand: this renovates in the 
course of a week the whole face of Nature, and pours 
into little more than that brief space the supplies 
which in other regions are distributed throughout the 
year. On the third day, before sunset, the country 
having gradually become desolate and deserted, con- 
sisting of vast plains covered with herds, with 
occasionally some wandering Turkmans or Kurds, 
Tancred and his companions came within sight of a 
broad and palmy river, a branch of the Euphrates. 

The country round, far as the eye could range, 
was a kind of downs covered with a scanty herbage, 
now brown with heat and age. When Tancred had 
gained an undulating height, and was capable of 
taking a more extensive survey of the land, it pre- 
sented, especially towards the south, the same features 
through an illimitable space. 

'The Syrian desert!' said Baroni; 'a fortnight 
later, and we shall see this land covered with flowers 
and fragrant with aromatic herbs.' 

'My heart responds to it,' said Tancred. 'What 
is Damascus, with all its sumptuousness, to this 
sweet liberty?' 

Quitting the banks of the river, they directed 
their course to the south, and struck as it were into 



398 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

the heart of the desert; yet, on the morrow, the 
winding waters again met them. And now there 
opened on their sight a wondrous scene: as far as 
the eye could reach innumerable tents; strings of 
many hundred camels going to, or returning from, 
the waters; groups of horses picketed about; proces- 
sions of women with vases on their heads visiting 
the palmy banks; swarms of children and dogs; 
spreading flocks; and occasionally an armed horse- 
man bounding about the environs of the vast encamp- 
ment. 

Although scarcely a man was visible when Tan- 
cred first caught a glimpse of this Arabian settlement, 
a band of horsemen suddenly sprang from behind a 
rising ground and came galloping up to them to re- 
connoitre and to inquire. 

'We are brothers,' said Baroni, 'for who should 
be the master of so many camels but the lord of the 
Syrian pastures?' 

'There is but one God,' said the Bedouin, 'and 
none are lords of the Syrian pastures but the children 
of Rechab.' 

'Truly, there is only one God,' said Baroni; 'go 
tell the great Sheikh that his friend the English 
prince has come here to give him a salaam of peace.' 

Away bounded back the Bedouins, and were soon 
lost in the crowded distance. 

'All is right,' said Baroni; 'we shall sup to-night 
under the pavilion of Amalek.' 

' 1 visit him then, at length, in his beautiful pas- 
tures,' said Tancred; 'but, alas! I visit him alone.' 

They had pulled up their horses, and were pro- 
ceeding leisurely towards the encampment, when they 
observed a cavalcade emerging from the outer bound- 



TANCRED 



399 



ary of the settlement. This was Amaiek himself, on 
one of his steeds of race, accompanied by several of 
his leading Sheikhs, coming to welcome Tancred to 
his pavilion in the Syrian pastures. A joyful satisfac- 
tion sparkled in the bright eyes of the old chieftain, 
as, at a little distance, he waved his hand with grace- 
ful dignity, and then pressed it to his heart. 

'A thousand salaams,' he exclaimed, when he had 
reached Tancred; 'there is but one God. I press you 
to my heart of hearts. There are also other friends, 
but they are not here.' 

' Salaam, great Sheikh! I feel indeed we are brothers. 
There are friends of whom we must speak, and in- 
deed of many things.' 

Thus conversing and riding side by side, Amaiek 
and Tancred entered the camp. Nearly five thousand 
persons were collected together in this wilderness, 
and two thousand warriors were prepared at a mo- 
ment's notice to raise their lances in the air. There 
were nearly as many horses, and ten times as many 
camels. This wilderness was the principal and fa- 
vourite resting-place of the great Sheikh of the children 
of Rechab, and the abundant waters and comparatively 
rich pasturage permitted him to gather around him a 
great portion of his tribe. 

The lamps soon gleamed, and the fires soon blazed; 
sheep were killed, bread baked, coffee pounded, and 
the pipe of honour was placed in the hands of Tan- 
cred. For an Arabian revel, the banquet was long and 
rather elaborate. By degrees, however, the guests stole 
away; the women ceased to peep through the cur- 
tains; and the children left off asking Baroni to give 
them backsheesh. At length, Amaiek and Tancred 
being left alone, the great Sheikh, who had hitherto 



400 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

evinced no curiosity as to the cause of the presence 
of his guest, said, ' There is a time for all things, for 
eating and for drinking, also for prayers. There is, 
also, a season to ask questions. Why is the brother of 
the Queen of the English in the Syrian desert ? ' 

'There is much to tell, and much to inquire,' said 
Tancred; 'but before 1 speak of myself, let me know 
whether you can get me tidings of Eva, the daughter 
of Besso.' 

'Is she not living in rooms with many divans.?' 
said Amalek. 

'Alas!' said Tancred, 'she was a prisoner, and is 
now a fugitive.' 

'What children of Gin have done this deed.? Are 
there strange camels drinking at my wells ? is it 
some accursed Kurd that has stolen her sheep; or 
some Turkman, blacker than night, that has hankered 
after her bracelets.?' 

'Nothing of all this, yet more than all this. All 
shall be told to you, great Sheikh, yet before I speak, 
tell me again, can you get me tidings of Eva, the 
daughter of Besso?' 

'Can 1 fire an arrow that will hit its mark.?' said 
Amalek; 'tell me the city of Syria where Eva the 
daughter of Besso may be found, and I will send her 
a messenger that would reach her even in the bath, 
were she there.' 

Tancred then gave the great Sheikh a rapid sketch 
of what had occurred to Eva, and expressed his fear 
that she might have been intercepted by the Turkish 
troops. Amalek decided that she must be at Aleppo, 
and, instantly summoning one of his principal men, 
he gave instructions for the departure of a trusty scout 
in that direction. 



TANCRED 401 

'Ere the tenth day shall have elapsed,' said the 
great Sheikh, ' we shall have sure tidings. And now 
let me know, prince of England, by what strange 
cause you could have found yourself in the regions of 
those children of hell, the Ansarey, who, it is well 
known, worship Eblis in every obscene form.' 

'It is a long tale,' said Tancred, 'but I suppose it 
must be told; but now that you have relieved my 
mind by sending to Aleppo, I can hardly forget that 
I have ridden for more than three days, and with 
little pause. I am not, alas! a true Arab, though I 
love Arabia and Arabian thoughts; and, indeed, my 
dear friend, had we not met again, it is impossible 
to say what might have been my lot, for I now feel 
that I could not have much longer undergone the 
sleepless toil I have of late encountered. If Eva be 
safe, I am content, or would wish to feel so; but 
what is content, and what is life, and what is man.? 
Indeed, great Sheikh, the longer I live and the more 

I think ' and here the chibouque dropped gently 

from Tancred's mouth, and he himself sunk upon the 
carpet. 







CHAPTER LX 



The Road to Bethany. 
.0 

ESSO is better,' said the Consul 

Pasqualigo to Barizy of the Tower, 

as he met him on a December 

morning in the Via Dolorosa. 

' Yes, but he is by no means 

well,' quickly rejoined Barizy. 'The 

physician of the English prince told me ' 

' He has not seen the physician of the English 
prince!' screamed Pasqualigo, triumphantly. 

M know that,' said Barizy, rallying; 'but the phy- 
sician of the English prince says for flesh-wounds 




'There are no flesh-wounds,' said the Consul Pas- 
qualigo. 'They have all healed; 'tis an internal 
shock.' 

' For internal shocks,' said Barizy of the Tower, 
'there is nothing like rosemary stewed with salt, and 
so keep on till it simmers.' 

'That is very well for a bruise,' said the Consul 
Pasqualigo. 

'A bruise is a shock,' said Barizy of the Tower. 

' Besso should have remained at Aleppo,' said the 
Consul. 

(402) 



TANCRED 



403 



'Besso always comes to Jerusalem when he is in- 
disposed,' said Barizy; 'as he well says, 'tis the only 
air that can cure him; and, if he cannot be cured, 
why, at least, he can be buried in the Valley of Je- 
hoshaphat.' 

'He is not at Jerusalem,' said the Consul Pasqua- 
ligo, maliciously. 

'How do you mean?' said Barizy, somewhat con- 
fused. 'I am now going to inquire after him, and 
smoke some of his Latakia.' 

'He is at Bethany,' said the Consul. 

'Hem!' said Barizy, mysteriously, 'Bethany! 
Will that marriage come off now, think you ? I al- 
ways fancy, when, eh ? ' 

'She will not marry till her father has recovered,' 
said the Consul. 

'This is a curious story,' said Barizy. 'The regu- 
lar troops beaten by the Kurds.' 

'They were not Kurds,' said the Consul Pasqua- 
ligo. 'They were Russians in disguise. Some can- 
non have been taken, which were cast at St. 
Petersburg; and, besides, there is a portfolio of state 
papers found on a Cossack, habited as a Turkman, 
which betrays all. The documents are to be pub- 
lished in numbers, with explanatory commentaries. 
Consul-General Laurella writes from Damascus that 
the Eastern question is more alive than ever. We are 
on the eve of great events.* 

'You don't say so?' said Barizy of the Tower, 
losing his presence of mind from this overwhelming 
superiority of information. 'I always thought so. 
Palmerston will never rest till he gets Jerusalem.' 

'The English must have markets,' said the Consul 
Pasqualigo. 



404 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Very just,' said Barizy of the Tower, 'There 
will be a great opening here. I think of doing a 
little myself in cottons; but the house of Besso will 
monopolise everything,' 

'I don't think the English can do much here,' said 
the Consul, shaking his head. 'What have we to 
give them in exchange ? The people here had better 
look to Austria, if they wish to thrive. The Aus- 
trians also have cottons, and they are Christians. 
They will give you their cottons, and take your cru- 
cifixes.' 

'I don't think I can deal in crucifixes,' said Barizy 
of the Tower. 

' I tell you what, if you won't, your cousin Barizy 
of the Gate will. I know he has given a great order 
to Bethlehem.' 

'The traitor!' exclaimed Barizy of the Tower. 
'Well, if people will purchase crucifixes and nothing 
else, they must be supplied. Commerce civilises 
man.' 

'Who is this?' exclaimed the Consul Pasqualigo. 

A couple of horsemen, well mounted, but travel- 
worn, and followed by a guard of Bedouins, were 
coming up the Via Dolorosa, and stopped at the 
house of Hassan Nejid. 

"Tis the English prince,' said Barizy of the Tower. 
'He has been absent six months; he has been in 
Egypt.' 

* To see the temples of the fire-worshippers, and 
to shoot crocodiles. They all do that,' said the Con- 
sul Pasqualigo. 

'How glad he must be to get back to Jerusalem,' 
said Barizy of the Tower. 'There may be larger 
cities, but there are certainly none so beautiful.' 



TANCRED 405 

'The most beautiful city in the world is the city 
of Venice,' said Pasqualigo. 

' You have never been there,' said Barizy. 

'But it was built principally by my ancestors,' 
said the Consul, 'and I have a print of it in my hall.' 

'I never heard that Venice was comparable to Je- 
rusalem,' said Barizy. 

' Jerusalem is, in every respect, an abode fit for 
swine, compared with Venice,' said Pasqualigo. 

' 1 would have you to know. Monsieur Pasqualigo, 
who call yourself consul, that the city of Jerusalem is 
not only the city of God, but has ever been the de- 
light and pride of man.' 

'Pish!' said Pasqualigo. 

'Poh!' said Barizy. 

' I am not at all surprised that Besso got out of it 
as soon as he possibly could.' 

' You would not dare to say these things in his 
presence,' said Barizy. 

'Who says "dare" to the representative of a 
European Power! ' 

'I say "dare" to the son of the janissary of the 
Austrian Vice-Consul at Sidon.' 

'You will hear more of this,' said Pasqualigo, 
fiercely. ' I shall make a representation to the Inter- 
nonce at Stamboul.' 

' You had better go there yourself, as you are tired 
of El Khuds.' 

Pasqualigo, not having a repartee ready, shot at 
his habitual comrade a glance of withering contempt, 
and stalked away. 

In the meantime, Tancred dismounted and entered 
for the first time his house at Jerusalem, of which he 
had been the nominal tenant for half a year. Baroni 



4o6 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

was quite at home, as he knew the house in old 
days, and had also several times visited, on this latter 
occasion, the suite of Tancred. Freeman and True- 
man, who had been forwarded on by the British Con- 
sul at Beiroot, like bales of goods, were at their 
post, bowing as if their master had just returned 
from a club. But none of the important members of 
the body were at this moment at hand. Colonel 
Brace was dining with the English Consul on an ex- 
perimental plum-pudding, preliminary to the authentic 
compound, which was to appear in a few days. It 
was supposed to be the first time that a Christmas 
pudding had been concocted at Jerusalem, and the 
excitement in the circle was considerable. The Colo- 
nel had undertaken to supervise the preparation, and 
had been for several days instilling the due instruc- 
tions into a Syrian cook, who had hitherto only suc- 
ceeded in producing a result which combined the 
specific gravity of lead with the general flavour and 
appearance of a mass of kneaded dates, in a state of 
fermentation after a lengthy voyage. The Rev. Mr. 
Bernard was at Bethlehem, assisting the Bishop in 
catechising some converts who had passed themselves 
off as true children of Israel, but who were in fact, 
older Christians than either of their examinants, being 
descendants of some Nestorian families, who had 
settled in the south of Palestine in the earlier ages of 
Christianity. As for Dr. Roby, he was culling sim- 
ples in the valley of the Jordan; and thus it happened 
that, when Tancred at length did evince some dispo- 
sition to settle down quietly under his ov/n roof, and 
avail himself of the services and society of his friends, 
not one of them was present to receive and greet him. 
Tancred roamed about the house, surveyed his 



TANCRED 407 

court and garden, sighed, while Baroni rewarded and 
dismissed their escort. *1 know not how it is,' he at 
length said to his intendant, 'but I never could have 
supposed that I could have felt so sad and spiritless 
at Jerusalem.' 

' It is the reaction, my lord, after a month's wan- 
dering in the desert. It is always so: the world 
seems tame.' 

'I am disappointed that Besso is not here. I am 
most anxious to see him.' 

'Shall I send for the Colonel, my lord.?' said Ba- 
roni, shaking Tancred's Arabian cloak. 

'Well, I think I should let him return naturally,' 
said Tancred; 'sending for him is a scene; and I do 
not know why, Baroni, but I feel — 1 feel unstrung. I 
am surprised that there are no letters from England; 
and yet 1 am rather glad too, for a letter ' 

'Received some months after its date,' said Baroni, 
'is like the visit of a spectre. I shudder at the sight 
of it.' 

'Heighol' said Tancred, stretching his arm, and 
half-speaking to himself, ' I wish the battle of Gin- 
darics had never ceased, but that, like some hero of 
enchantment, I had gone on for ever fighting.' 

'Ah! there is nothing like action,' said Baroni, un- 
screwing his pistols. 

'But what action is there in this world?' said 
Tancred. 'The most energetic men in Europe are 
mere busybodies. Empires are now governed like 
parishes, and a great statesman is only a select ves- 
tryman. And they are right: unless we bring man 
nearer to heaven, unless government become again 
divine, the insignificance of the human scheme must 
paralyse all effort.' 



4o8 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'Hem!' said Baroni, kneeling down and opening 
Tancred's rifle-case. The subject was getting a little 
too deep for him. *I perceive,' he said to himself, 
'that my lord is very restless. There is something 
at the bottom of his mind which, perhaps, he does 
not quite comprehend himself; but it will come out.' 

Tancred passed the day alone in reading, or walk- 
ing about his room with an agitated and moody step. 
Often when his eye rested on the page, his mind 
wandered from the subject, and he was frequently 
lost in profound and protracted reverie. The evening 
drew on; he retired early to his room, and gave 
orders that he was not to be disturbed. At a later 
hour. Colonel Brace returned, having succeeded in his 
principal enterprise, and having also sung the national 
anthem. He was greatly surprised to hear that Lord 
Montacute had returned; but Baroni succeeded in 
postponing the interview until the morrow. An hour 
after the Colonel, the Rev. Mr. Bernard returned from 
Bethlehem. He was in great tribulation, as he had 
been pursued by some of the vagabonds of that ruf- 
fianly district; a shot had even been fired after him; 
but this was only to frighten him. The fact is, the 
leader of the band was his principal catechumen, who 
was extremely desirous of appropriating a very splen- 
did copy of the Holy Writings, richly bound, and 
adorned with massy golden clasps, which the Duch- 
ess of Bellamont had presented to the Rev. Mr. Ber- 
nard before his departure, and which he always, as a 
sort of homage to one whom he sincerely respected, 
displayed on any eminent instance of conversion. 

The gates of the city were closed when Dr. Roby 
returned, laden with many rare balsams. The con- 
sequence was, he was obliged to find quarters in 



TANCRED 409 

a tomb in the valley of Jehoshaphat. As his attendant 
was without food, when his employer had sunk into 
philosophic repose, he supped off the precious herbs 
and roots, and slaked his thirst with a draught from 
the fountain of Siloah. 

Tancred passed a night of agitating dreams. 
Sometimes he was in the starry desert, sometimes in 
the caverned dungeons of Gindarics. Then, again, 
the scene changed to Bellamont Castle, but it would 
seem that Fakredeen was its lord; and when Tancred 
rushed forward to embrace his mother, she assumed 
the form of the Syrian goddess, and yet the face was 
the face of Eva. Though disturbed, he slept, and 
when he woke, he was for a moment quite uncon- 
scious of being at Jerusalem. Although within a 
week of Christmas, no sensible difference had yet oc- 
curred in the climate. The golden sun succeeded the 
silver moon, and both reigned in a clear blue sky. You 
may dine at night on the terrace of your house at 
Jerusalem in January, and find a serene and benig- 
nant atmosphere. 

Tancred rose early; no one was stirring in the 
house except the native servants, and Mr. Freeman, 
who was making a great disturbance about hot 
water. Tancred left a message with this gentleman 
for the Colonel and his companions, begging that 
they might all meet at breakfast, and adding that he 
was about to stroll for half an hour. Saying this, he 
quitted the house, and took his way by the gate of 
Stephen to the Mount of Olives. 

It was a delicious morn, wonderfully clear, and 
soft, and fresh. It seemed a happy and a thriving 
city, that forlorn Jerusalem, as Tancred, from the 
heights of Olivet, gazed upon its noble buildings, and 



4IO BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

its cupolaed houses of freestone, and its battlemented 
walls and lofty gates. Nature was fair, and the sense 
of existence was delightful. It seemed to Tancred that 
a spicy gale came up the ravines of the wilderness, 
from the farthest Arabia. 

Lost in prolonged reverie, the hours flew on. The 
sun was mounting in the heavens when Tancred 
turned his step, but, instead of approaching the city, 
he pursued a winding path in an opposite direction. 
That path led to Bethany. 




CHAPTER LXI 




Arrival of the Duke and 
Duchess. 

HE crest of the palm tree in the 
garden of Eva glittered in the de- 
clining sun; and the lady of Bethany 
sat in her kiosk on the margin of 
the fountain, unconsciously playing 
with a flower, and gazing in ab- 
straction on the waters. She had left Tancred with 
her father, now convalescent. They had passed the 
morning together, talking over the strange events that 
had occurred since they first became acquainted on 
this very spot; and now the lady of Bethany had 
retired to her own thoughts. 

A sound disturbed her; she looked up and recog- 
nised Tancred. 

' I could not refrain from seeing the sun set on 
Arabia,' he said; 'I had almost induced the noble 
Besso to be my companion.' 

'The year is too old,' said Eva, not very com- 
posed. 

'They should be midsummer nights,' said Tancred, 
'as on my first visit here; that hour thrice blessed!' 
'We know not what is blessed in this world,' 
said Eva, mournfully. 

(4") 



412 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

'I feel I do,' murmured Tancred; and he also 
seated himself on the margin of the fountain. 

'Of all the strange incidents and feelings that we 
have been talking over this day,' said Eva, 'there 
seems to me but one result; and that is, sadness.' 

' It is certainly not joy,' said Tancred. 

'There comes over me a great despondency,' said 
Eva, 'I know not why, my convictions are as pro- 
found as they were, my hopes should not be less 
high, and yet ' 

'And what.^' said Tancred, in a low, sweet voice, 
for she hesitated. 

' I have a vague impression,' said Eva, sorrow- 
fully, ' that there have been heroic aspirations wasted, 
and noble energies thrown away; and yet, perhaps,' 
she added, in a faltering tone, 'there is no one to 
blame. Perhaps, all this time, we have been dream- 
ing over an unattainable end, and the only source of 
deception is our own imagination.' 

'My faith is firm,' said Tancred; 'but if anything 
could make it falter, it would be to find you waver- 
ing.' 

'Perhaps it is the twilight hour,' said Eva, with a 
faint smile. 'It sometimes makes one sad.' 

'There is no sadness where there is sympathy,' 
said Tancred, in a low voice. 'I have been, I am 
sad, when I am alone: but when I am with you, 
my spirit is sustained, and would be, come what 
might.' 

'And yet ' said Eva; and she paused. 

' And what ?' 

' Your feelings cannot be what they were before 
all this happened; when you thought only of a divine 
cause, of stars, of angels, and of our peculiar and 



TANCRED 413 

gifted land. No, no; now it is ail mixed up witli in- 
trigue, and politics, and management, and baffled 
schemes, and cunning arts of men. You may be, you 
are, free from all this, but your faith is not the same. 
You no longer believe in Arabia.' 

'Why, thou to me art Arabia,' said Tancred, ad- 
vancing and kneeling at her side. ' The angel of 
Arabia, and of my life and spirit! Talk not to me of 
faltering faith: mine is intense. Talk not to me 
of leaving a divine cause: why, thou art my cause, 
and thou art most divine! O Eva! deign to accept 
the tribute of my long agitated heart! Yes, I too, 
like thee, am sometimes full of despair; but it is only 
when I remember that 1 love, and love, perhaps, in 
vain!' 

He had clasped her hand; his passionate glance 
met her eye, as he looked up with adoration to a face 
infinitely distressed. Yet she withdrew not her hand, 
as she murmured, with averted head, 'We must not 
talk of these things; we must not think of them. 
You know all.' 

'1 know of nothing, I will know of nothing, but 
of my love.' 

'There are those to whom I belong; and to whom 
you belong. Yes,' she said, trying to withdraw 
her hand, 'fly, fly from me, son of Europe and of 
Christ!' 

' 1 am a Christian in the land of Christ,' said Tan- 
cred, 'and I kneel to a daughter of my Redeemer's 
race. Why should I fly?' 

'Oh! this is madness!* 

'Say, rather, inspiration,' said Tancred, 'for I will 
not quit this fountain by which we first met until I 
am told, as you now will tell me,' he added, in a 



414 BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

tone of gushing tenderness, ' that our united destinies 
shall advance the sovereign purpose of our hves. Talk 
not to me of others, of those v^ho have claims on 
you or on myself. I have no kindred, no country, 
and, as for the ties that would bind you, shall such 
world-worn bonds restrain our consecrated aim? 
Say but you love me, and I will trample them to 
the dust.' 

The head of Eva fell upon his shoulder. He im- 
pressed an embrace upon her cheek. It was cold, 
insensible. Her hand, which he still held, seemed to 
have lost all vitality. Overcome by contending emo- 
tions, the principle of life seemed to have deserted 
her. Tancred laid her reclining figure with gentleness 
on the mats of the kiosk; he sprinkled her pale face 
with some drops from the fountain; he chafed her 
delicate hand. Her eyes at length opened, and she 
sighed. He placed beneath her head some of the 
cushions that were at hand. Recovering, she slightly 
raised herself, leant upon the marble margin of the 
fountain, and looked about her with a wildered air. 

At this moment a shout was heard, repeated and 
increased; soon the sound of many voices and the 
tramp of persons approaching. The vivid but brief 
twilight had died away. Almost suddenly it had be- 
come night. The voices became more audible, the 
steps were at hand. Tancred recognised his name, 
frequently repeated. Behold a crowd of many persons, 
several of them bearing torches. There was Colonel 
Brace in the van; on his right was the Rev. Mr. 
Bernard; on his left, was Dr. Roby. Freeman and 
Trueman and several guides and native servants were 
in the rear, most of them proclaiming the name of 
Lord Montacute. 



TANCRED 



415 



*I am here,' said Tancred, advancing from the 
kiosk, pale and agitated. 'Why am I wanted?' 

Colonel Brace began to explain, but all seemed to 
speak at the same time. 

The Duke and Duchess of Bellamont had arrived 
at Jerusalem. 




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